Medicare Renewal: How Often Do You Have to Enroll in Medicare?
Written by: Vanessa Jerusalimiec
Reviewed by: Brett Braithwaite, Licensed Insurance Agent
Do you have to re-enroll in Medicare every year? Original Medicare coverage automatically renews every year so you don’t have to re-enroll.
In most cases, your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan will renew at the end of each year. However, if your plan ends their coverage, you will need to re-enroll in Medicare.
Your plan provider notifies you each year of any changes to coverage. This gives you lots of time to decide if you want to re-enroll in the same plan or switch to a new plan.
If you don’t want to re-enroll in the same plan, you can switch plans during the Open Enrollment Period.
Medicare Renewal Periods
Do I have to re-enroll in Medicare every year? In most cases, Medicare re-enrollment is automatic so you only have to enroll in Medicare once.
After you’re enrolled in Medicare, your coverage will continue unless you decide to make changes. Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Part D plans and Medigap plans all automatically renew. This prevents any gaps in coverage, and saves on time and paperwork for everyone. You won’t need to take any action, and your coverage will continue.
Renewing Medicare Part A
Once you’ve enrolled in Medicare Part A, your coverage automatically renews every year. If you’re happy with your Medicare coverage and you don’t make any changes, your Medicare Part A plan will renew at the end of each year.
Renewing Medicare Part B
Just like Medicare Part A, your Medicare Part B coverage renews at the end of every year. As long as you pay your Part B premiums on time, your plan automatically renews. Your monthly premium may change when the plan renews, but your coverage won’t be dropped.
Renewing Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage replaces Original Medicare coverage with a plan from a private insurance company. When you switch to a Medicare Advantage plan or Part C plan, it will replace the Part A and Part B coverage provided by Original Medicare. These plans also renew automatically, so you don’t have to re-enroll in Medicare every year.
Medicare Advantage plans may change their coverage each year, or make changes to their network of providers. They can also reduce the service area or even end the plan altogether. If you’re no longer happy with your coverage or your plan ends, you can enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan.
Renewing Medicare Part D
Just like Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D plans will automatically renew each year so you don’t have to stress about your prescription drug coverage. But if the insurance company stops offering the plan or doesn’t offer the plan in your area, you’ll need to enroll in a new Part D plan.
Renewing Original Medicare with a Medigap Policy
Your Medigap coverage automatically renews every year. In most cases, your Medigap policy will continue even if your insurance provider stops offering the plan to new Medicare beneficiaries.
Find a local Medicare plan that fits your needs
Will I Get an Annual Notice of Change?
When you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan, you’ll get an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) every September. This letter details any new changes to your Medicare plan. You’ll have time to review the changes and make sure this is still the right plan for your healthcare needs.
Changes listed in the ANOC can include:
- Updated coverage options
- Adjusted copayments and coinsurance amounts
- Changes to the formulary or prescription drug coverage list
- New in-network provider list
You don’t need to renew your plan each year, but it’s a good idea to review your ANOC annually. It’s important to find out how the changes in your plan may affect your healthcare coverage. For example, if your primary doctor isn’t listed as an in-network provider, or your medications will no longer be covered, you may want to switch to a new Medicare plan.
Instead of a Notice of Change, you may get a non-renewal notice from your plan provider. This means that your insurance provider is not renewing their contract with Medicare, or they won’t be offering your plan the following year.
You’ll need to review your plan options and switch to new Medicare coverage. The best time to enroll in a new plan is during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 to December 7. Your old plan will end on December 31, and your new plan will begin on January 1.
Do I Have to Do Anything During Medicare Open Enrollment?
If you’re happy with your current Medicare coverage, you don’t need to do anything during the Annual Enrollment Period, also referred to as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Your plan will automatically renew, and your coverage will continue.
However, if your plan is ending or you want different coverage, AEP is the perfect time to make changes. During this period you can:
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan.
- Return to Original Medicare coverage.
- Enroll in a Part D plan.
- Switch to a new Part D plan.
Your current plan coverage will end at the end of December, and your new coverage will kick in January 1.
Are you eligible for cost-saving Medicare subsidies?
Does Your Medicare Card Expire?
Your Medicare plan automatically renews each year, and so does your Medicare card. You’ll get an Original Medicare card in the mail when you first enroll. And you’ll receive a Medicare Advantage plan card or a Part D card when you first enroll. As long as you’re enrolled in Medicare and pay your monthly premiums, these Medicare cards do not expire.
Your Medicare card will expire if your Medicare plan ends. This can happen if you no longer live in the coverage area or the insurance provider stops offering this plan.
Changing plans? Your old Medicare card will expire when the plan ends, and you’ll get a new card for your new plan.