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Facts about Medicare and Healthcare Open Enrollment Periods - 2017


Medicare is a government run health insurance program only for people aged 65 and over. Medicare Gov program includes four separate programs. The options read like an alphabet soup, including Part A and B (original Medicare), Part C (Medicare Advantage), and Part D (Drug Coverage). People can choose any plan they like. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is a period when people can change their Medicare Advantage and/or Part D prescription-drug plans. If you have Original Medicare with a Medigap supplemental plan and are happy with it, you can still take a look at getting a new Medicare Part D. It is prudent to shop around for alternative plans in your area.

Elaine Wong Eakin, Executive director of California Health Advocates in Sacramento says, "People can join a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan for the first time. If they are already in one of these plans, they can switch. If they don’t want [the plans they currently have], they can un-enroll and go back to Original Medicare.” More than 14.5 million people or about 28% of the Medicare population are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.

These plans open doors to seniors to receive both Medicare Part A and B benefits though private health insurers which contracts with Medicare. This plan also covers hospitalization, outpatient care etc. Part D plans cover the cost of prescription drugs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay for. In previous years, open enrollment has been held from November 15 to the end of December. In 2016 the OEP is October 15 to December 7, 2016. The change was made in the year 2011 to make sure that Medicare has enough time to process beneficiaries plan choices in time.

Medicare’s plan D is a very popular Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan. So if you are eligible, then you can shop for - and buy a supplemental Medicare policy. Read more about the 2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Period.


Like Medicare, Healthcare also has an enrollment period to buy health insurance from private insurers. OEP for’s Healthcare Market Place is between November 15, 2016 and February 15, 2017. If a person can’t buy any plan within this period, he or she won’t be able to buy any plan or renewed until the next OEP. NOTE: You can still buy health insurance directly from private insurers at any time during the year. Click on the link at the end of this article to compare health insurance rates. If a person is enrolled in 2016, his or her plan will be end on 31 December, 2016. In order to continue the current plan, he or she has to renew or change the plan for 2017 during the time of open enrollment. If one decides to enroll between the 1stand 15th of a month, his coverage will start from the 1stday of the second month. As for example, if you enroll on March 17, your health insurance coverage will start from April 1st.

More about Healthcare Gov’s Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period.

A person may enroll in the Children’s health Insurance Program- CHIP or Medicaid at anytime. There are no time barriers for these two programs.


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