Understanding the Marketplace’s Open Enrollment Period Versus Medicare’s

Understanding the Marketplace’s Open Enrollment Period Versus Medicare’s

The fall can already be a rather confusing time with the plethora of information and advertisements regarding health plan changes and coverage options for the new year. On top of coverage options is the task of differentiating which enrollment period is yours. What do I mean by that? Well, Medicare’s fall open enrollment over laps with the relatively new Health Insurance Marketplaces’ open enrollment. And it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

The Marketplace’s open enrollment runs November through January; whereas, Medicare’s open enrollment runs October 15th through December 7th each year. Remember that these open enrollment periods are different and are for different populations.

Health Insurance Marketplaces provide health plan options for people who are uninsured or under-insured. The marketplaces are not intended for and are not available to most Medicare beneficiaries. They also do not offer Medigap policies, Medicare health plans, or Medicare drug plans.

See our page on Medicare’s open enrollment for more information. And for information on California’s health insurance marketplace coverage options, see www.coveredca.com,

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.