• NASW-IL Staff

Medicare Open Enrollment: What’s New for 2022 and How You Can Help Your Clients


NASW Social Work Blog


Each fall, Medicare beneficiaries can review, compare, and change their coverage options during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP). The OEP, sometimes known as the annual election period, began on October 15 and ends on December 7. Changes made during the OEP affect coverage between January 1 and December 31, 2022. (The Medicare OEP is distinct from Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment, which occurs November 1 through December 15.)


Medicare is integral to the economic security and health of people with disabilities and older adults. The type or types of coverage selected by beneficiaries can have profound effects on access to and cost of health care. Yet, Medicare enrollment can be challenging even for long-time beneficiaries and experienced care partners.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends that beneficiaries review coverage options each year because the needs of each beneficiary and the coverage offered by each plan often change. However, a 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that seven of 10 beneficiaries did not compare coverage options during the 2018 OEP. Moreover, the report found that this share was even higher among beneficiaries who (a) were Black or Latino, (b) had not attended college or vocational school, (c) were younger than 65 or older than 75, (d) had an income of less than $20,000 per year, (e) lived in a rural area, (f) reported their health status as “fair” or “poor,” and (g) were enrolled in Medicaid.


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