Do You Know the Difference Between Covered CA’s and Medicare’s Open Enrollment?

Do You Know the Difference Between Covered CA’s and Medicare’s Open Enrollment?

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, officially referred to as the Annual Election Period (AEP), is in full swing. It started Oct 15 and runs through December 7. During the AEP, Medicare beneficiaries can review their health coverage options for 2015 and make a change. If you are in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plan, you can either switch plans or return to Original Medicare and enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan and vice versa. All the 2015 data on MA and PDP plans are on the Medicare Plan Finder tool. You can search by zip code, and for Part D drug plans, you can also search by the best coverage for the drugs you take. See our webpage on the Annual Election Period for coverage tips, resources and common questions and answers.

Medicare’s AEP from Oct 15 – Dec 7 is not to be confused with Covered California’s annual open enrollment period, which is from Nov 15, 2014 through Feb 15, 2015. Covered California is the name of the health insurance marketplace in California. If you have Medicare, you do not need coverage through Covered California. See the Covered California website for information on how to apply and FAQs.

If you currently have a health plan through Covered California and will become eligible for Medicare in 2015, see our recently updated Frequently Asked Questions about Medicare and Covered California. It reviews what to do once Medicare eligible and important points to consider when reviewing your coverage options.

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.