Medicare Glossary

Definitions for common Medicare terms

annual election period

DEFINITION: Medicare’s annual election period – also known as Medicare open enrollment – is the annual period during which Medicare plan enrollees can reevaluate their coverage. During open enrollment, a beneficiary can switch Medicare Advantage plans, switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare, join a Medicare prescription drug plan or drop Medicare Part D coverage entirely.  The enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, and changes you make during that time are effective January 1.