Medicare open enrollment begins earlier this year, on October 15. That's a full month earlier than norm. The enrollment period also ends earlier, on December 7th, giving seniors seven weeks to make changes to their coverage.
The change was intended to cut down on confusion for seniors who wait until the end of the year to change plans. The earlier deadline is meant to ensure recipients have plan materials and membership cards in hand by Jan. 1, when the new coverage begins.
Jeff Broyles, owner of the BBB Accredited Business Medical Benefits Group, says he concerned about what will happen to seniors who don't know about the change. “If they don't enroll by December 7th, they will miss the chance to change plans and may end up with a plan this isn't best for their individual needs."
Open enrollment gives people with Medicare an opportunity to review their coverage, explore other plans and make changes to their coverage. Changes that aren’t made by Dec. 7 have to wait for another year.