Guest Blog by Mason Hewitt CEO,

Medicare Open Enrollment, also known as AEP (Annual Election Period) begins October 15th this year and extends through December 7th.  Open Enrollment is the time each year when any Medicare eligible individual can sign up for, or make changes to their Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Who is Eligible?

Medicare can seem unnecessarily complex, but here is a simple list of the three requirements that must be met  in order to qualify for a Medicare Advantage Plan during open enrollment:

  • You are 65 or older.
  • You do not have End-Stage Renal Disease.
  • You have Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare).

Do I need Medicare Advantage?

The short answer is, “it’s up to you”.  Medicare Advantage is similar to an HMO or PPO insurance plan.  Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover everything.  One way to fill the gap in coverage is to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which includes Parts A and B, but also includes additional coverage, and is administered by a private insurance company.  The other way to fill the gap in coverage is to sign up for a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan, also known as Medigap.  We’ll provide more details on Medigap in an upcoming post.  Medicare Advantage plans do differ, so make sure you compare the benefits.

Where can I compare Medicare Plans?

Many private insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and Humana provide both Medicare Supplemental and Medicare Advantage coverage.  You can call those companies individually or visit a website like, which will connect you with several providers in order to simplify the comparison process.

For more information on Medicare related topics check out the Total Medicare Learning Center or