Open enrollment for Medicare starts October 15

If you are currently enrolled in Medicare, there are two open enrollment periods each year that give you an opportunity to compare your options and make changes to your health and drug coverage if you need to.

It’s important to understand that there are two types of Medicare coverage: Original Medicare, and Medicare Advantage plans. Original Medicare provides hospital insurance as well as health insurance, including premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Some people also add a prescription drug plan or supplemental insurance plans through a private carrier that can offer additional benefits beyond what Original Medicare covers.

About half the people enrolled in Medicare select a Medicare Advantage Plan from a commercial health insurance company that combines hospital insurance, health insurance, prescriptions and options for vision, dental and hearing benefits.

Open enrollment for Original Medicare runs from October 15-December 7 each year.  During this period, anyone currently enrolled in a Medicare plan can switch plans, add or drop prescription coverage, change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.  If you like what you have currently you don’t have to do anything. Depending on your decision, your current plan will renew or your new coverage will become effective on January 1.

Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans runs from January 1-March 31. During this period you can compare plans and change or renew your coverage depending on what your healthcare needs will look like in the coming year. You can also switch back to Original Medicare.

Before making any decisions, consider what each option offers and what your medical needs might look like in the coming year. For example, does your plan cover visits to Telluride Regional Medical Center providers? Does it cover your medications? Do you anticipate needing any surgeries that could require hospital stays? Are vision or dental benefits important to you?

There are some great resources available if you have questions:

The National Council on Aging


If you still have concerns, just ask our team at TMC. We’ve got you covered and we’re here to help.