Do I Need to Make Changes During Medicare Open Enrollment?

Do I Need to Make Changes During Medicare Open Enrollment?

The open enrollment period for Medicare coverage runs from October 15 to December 7, 2022. This is the annual period when existing Medicare beneficiaries can make changes and update their plans for 2023. Changes made during this period go into effect on January 1, 2023.

Who can make changes during Medicare open enrollment?

During the open enrollment period, you can join, switch, or drop a plan. Your coverage will begin on January 1 (as long as the plan gets your request by December 7).

If you are interested in getting Medicare, the sign-up window is the three months before and three months after you turn 65. If you miss that window you must wait until Medicare’s general enrollment period, January 1 through March 31.

For more details on signing up and changing plans, visit

What’s new in 2023?

This excerpt from the official “Medicare & You 2023” handbook outlines the important updates for next year:

COVID-19 updates
Medicare continues to cover coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, tests, and booster shots, if you’re eligible.

Another time to sign up for Medicare
You might be able to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period if you missed your enrollment period because of certain exceptional circumstances.

New start dates for your Medicare coverage
Beginning January 1, 2023, when you sign up for Medicare the month you turn 65
or during the last 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, or during the General
Enrollment Period, your coverage starts the first day of the month after you sign up.

Kidney transplants & immunosuppressive drug coverage
Medicare will offer a new benefit that helps continue to pay for immunosuppressive drugs
beyond 36 months after a kidney transplant (if you don’t have other health coverage).

What’s this packet I got from Medicare in the mail?

Every year, Medicare sends you an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) describing any changes to your current coverage, costs, or service area. Beware of other mail or calls about your Medicare information. Medicare will never call you for your Medicare number or ask you for personal information unless you reach out first. This information from Medicare provides helpful tips for preventing Medicare fraud: Help Fight Medicare Fraud.

This is a lot of information. Who can I call for help?

You will want to talk to the good people at SHIIP, the Senior Health Insurance and Information Program. They offer free and confidential counseling from trained volunteers to help Iowans sort through their Medicare options. There are two SHIIP Sponsor Sites in Linn County where you can set up an appointment with a counselor. You can contact them at:

      •  Mercy Medical Center: (319) 861-7887
      • UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital:  (319) 369-7475

The October 14th edition of the Life At Meth-Wick newsletter also has helpful information: Life at Meth-Wick newsletter.

If you have any other questions about changes to your Medicare coverage, Meth-Wick is here to help. You can contact Cindy Robertson at 297-8646 with any questions or concerns.