Medicare Open Enrollment 2017

Learn what to do during Medicare's Annual Election Period

by Amy De Vore+ on Sep 01, 2017 | 16 Comments

Medicare Open Enrollment 2017 is right around the corner, but what is it? And, what does it mean to you? Medicare Open Enrollment, also known as Medicare’s Annual Election Period, runs each year from October 15th thru December 7th. Let us explain what you can and cannot do during this period.

Please see our new open enrollment article here with 2018 information

What Can I Do During Open Enrollment 2017?

During Open Enrollment Medicare, which runs from October 15 thru December 7 for a January 1st effective date, you can switch your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan. You never have to answer to fill out a medical questionnaire to be enrolled -the only two exceptions with Medicare Advantage are if you are currently in a Long Term Care Facility or if you have End Stage Renal Disease (these are the two cases you cannot enroll in an MA plan). 

Learn More about Medicare AdvantageGet a MA Quote

What Can’t I Do During Open Enrollment 2017?

During Medicare Open Enrollment 2017 you cannot do the following:

Why is Medicare’s Open Enrollment Important?

Did you know that a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D can change their drug formularies each year. So, in 2016 your drug may be covered, but that same company in 2017 may not cover that drug, or they can charge more. As well as, your Medicare Advantage plan is not federally standardized like Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap), and therefore they can change their network of providers, change they way they cover a medical service, and/or drop additional benefits like dental, vision, and hearing.

Bottom line, you will want to look over your Medicare Advantage and Part D plans every Open Enrollment. We know it’s a bit more work, but if you don’t, you could end up spending a lot more money than you would need to. Good reason? We think so.

Learn More about Medicare Prescription Drug CoverageGet a Part D Quote

Can I Switch My Drug or MA plan outside of Open Enrollment?

The answer is maybe. If you haven’t moved out of your provider’s area, or your company did not mislead you, then the only way to switch your drug or Medicare Advantage Plan outside of Open Enrollment is if you find a Medicare 5-star rated plan. The tricky part is 5-star rated plans are like unicorns, people talk about them, but they are rarely seen. If you would like help finding a 5-star plan call our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.

Still want more information about open enrollment? Click the button below!

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Reader Comments and Questions

By Michelle on February 04, 2019

My mother is 87 years old. She never signed up for Medicare part D coverage. She used her Medicare benefit until last Oct, 2018. Can she be signed up for the coverage now, past the enrollment period.

Hello Michelle,
We are not sure what you meant when you wrote, "She used her Medicare benefit until last Oct, 2018." Is she no longer on Medicare?

Most people on Medicare who missed their initial drug enrollment date will have to wait until the next Annual Election Period which is from October 15th to December 7th. She may be subject to a penalty. I know it sounds like quite a long wait but when the time comes, we can help to enroll her.

-Chris from

By carlos on October 27, 2017

I am currently a retired veteran - and working. I am covered under Tricare health plan, but no other insurance. I will be turning 65 in Sep of 2018. When do I need to apply for Medicare? I understand open enrollment is Oct thru december. Do I need to apply in 2017?

Your enrollment in Medicare part A and B is not the same as "open enrollment." You will want to enroll in Medicare 3 months before you turn 65. Check it out here:
-Chris from

By Kristal on April 26, 2017

I'm trying to help get my uncle (& he's my boss) covered. He is diabetic and b4 BCBS cancelled his coverage-- he was paying $700+ out of pocket for his insulin! So...he is currently uninsured-- he turns 65 in Sept.2017; when can I enroll him in Medicare & a prescription plan? When will coverage start?

We'd be happy to help you! He can apply up to 90 days before his Medicare effective date. We'd be happy to help him enroll in a Med Supp and prescription plan. Please call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By IGino on March 29, 2017

When will the ED drugs be covered by Medicare, drugs like Viagra, Cealis etc.

Here's the misconception about Medicare Part D: most people think their prescription drugs are covered through Medicare, but they're actually through a private insurer that is contracted through Medicare. Therefore, ED drugs will be covered when a private insurer reaches a deal with a pharmaceutical company to offer it at the best rate.

With that said, there is supposed to be a generic version of Viagra available Dec 2017. You can check back with one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents during Medicare's Open Enrollment to see if any drug plans in your area offer it. You can reach an agent at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By Brenda on March 28, 2017

I am on medicare disabiity-I turn 65 this month--Do I change my plan I want to leave Humana-and go on an advantage plan through Harbor When is the cut off date for disablity medicare-and can I change the the plan I am curently on?

Due to the fact you're turning 65 (regardless that were already enrolled due to a disability) you should be able to change your Medicare Advantage plan during your 7 month enrollment period: 3 months before your birth month, your birth month, and three months after. If you need help enrolling in a plan, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By Valentina on February 11, 2017

My husband's birthday is on May 18th 1952. He will turn 65 on May 18th. He still is working and is planning to work at least until end of this year. We enroll him to Medicare Plan A on February 10th because he has health insurance at work. My husband in afraid that we did this very late because his co-worker said to him that he should do this 6 months before his birthday, is that true? Thank you, Valentina

You can only apply for Medicare 3 months before his birthday. So you'll be fine enrolling him in February.
' -Amy from

By Jack Jordan on January 13, 2017

My wife turned 65 on January 1st, 2017. Can I still enroll her into medicare? Which is the best plan?

Yes! You can go here to start your Medicare application. Once you're done, you'll want to decide between Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage, or if you want to stay only with Original Medicare. Our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents can help with that decision by calling 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By Neil Luers on December 30, 2016

i neil, will turn 65 on march 11 2017 and my wife ,linda will turn 65 in april. linda will continue to work till april and she has full time benefits. is there a deadline to file for benefits?and what benefits do we usually need?

Both you and your spouse can delay enrollment into Medicare Part B if both of you are offered creditable coverage through her work. Once she retires, you can enroll in Part B, and you will not owe a Part B late penalty, and you will have a Special Enrollment Period for Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans. If you need help with continuity of coverage and enrollment in a Medigap or MA plan call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By John on December 05, 2016

My coverage through my spouse will end when she retires in August 2017. If I sign up now ( I'm already enrolled for part A and will be 70 in April) am I obliged to start coverage Jan.1 or can I wait until August when my current coverage ends? Or do I start a supplemental plan in August?

As long as your coverage through your spouse's job-based insurance is considered creditable coverage, you will probably want to delay Part B and your Medigap plan until she retires. With that said, you will not want a gap in coverage. To make sure you have continuity of coverage call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By Casaline on November 29, 2016

I'm being disenroll as a member from People Health Secure Health because my SSI and medicaid were dropped. What do I need to do now to get medicare coverage?

You will need to contact Original Medicare to find out how you'll be covered. If you need help finding a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Clarence Roberson on October 04, 2016

Do I have to sign up for a new plan for 2017 if I already have a PDP plan. I understand open enrollments start Oct.15 through Dec. 7 for January 1, 2017. I do not wish to change my pan.

You do not have to sign up for a new PDP plan; however, you should always review your plan, as your plan may have changed the way it covers your prescription drugs, and/or it may have dropped coverage completely for a drug you are on. If you need help comparing your Part D plan to other plans in your area, please call one of our Senior65 licensed independent agents at 800-930-7956.
-Eric from

By Janet on September 28, 2016

When are drug part d pricings available for 2017? ( Oep). Is any advantage plan as broad as plan F? Pays 100% of all Medicare covered charges..

Thank you for your question. 2017 Drug plans were released on October 1st. And, no, there are not any Advantage plans that cover as much as Plan F. If you need help finding a drug or Medicare Supplement plan please call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By on September 22, 2016

If I want to keep what I have, do I have to do anything?

The answer to your question is: YES!!! If you have a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you always want to check each year. The reason is your plan can change its network, the way it covers your health care, and it can drop or change the way it covers drugs that it covered the year before. For help finding the best Medicare Advantage plan in your area, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from

By Marlene Halsey on September 13, 2016

I turn 65 in July of 2017, when should I sign up for Medicare and drug plans?

You most likely will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, but if you are not, you will want to sign up for Medicare 3 months before your effective date (most likely July 1, 2017). If you want Part D, Medigap, or Medicare Advantage, you will want to sign up at the same time, so that you have continuity of coverage. If you have any questions about Medigap, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare prescription drug plans call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from

By John Mullen on September 12, 2016

How do change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to traditional Medicare? And, can you sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan outside the normal Medicare enrollment period?

Your two part question has a crossover answer. First, you can switch from your Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare during the Annual Election period (Oct 15 -Dec 7) or the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (Jan 1 -Feb 14). Second, you can apply for a Medigap plan anytime during the year; however, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must wait until your plan terminates (Jan 1) to start a new plan. So, you can apply up to 60 days before Jan 1 -which is a good idea, since, in most states, you will have to go through medical underwriting. If you are interested in a Medigap plan plan, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from

By Pablo on March 24, 2016

I turn 65 in April. Do I need to wait until October to enroll in a drug plan?

Good news! You do not need to wait until Open Enrollment to join a drug plan. Remember Medicare's Open Enrollment is for switching plans, not joining. So, since your 65th birthday is in April, you can enroll in a drug plan during your 7-month initial enrollment period, and have your Part D plan start on the same day as Medicare. Call one of our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956 to help you find a prescription drug plan in your area.
-Chris from

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.

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