Now that we're well into November, a lot of people are starting to focus on year-end financial moves (think tax-loss harvesting) and the holidays. But if you're a Medicare enrollee and haven't yet made adjustments to your coverage for 2023, you may want to shift your focus.

Medicare's annual open-enrollment period has been underway since mid-October. During this time, existing enrollees have an opportunity to make changes to their coverage. That includes:

  • Moving from one Part D drug plan to another
  • Moving from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Moving from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or dropping Medicare Advantage and moving to original Medicare

If you're reasonably happy with your existing Medicare coverage, you may be inclined to skip out on open enrollment this year. But that could end up being a big mistake.

A person at a laptop.

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It pays to explore your options

Maybe you've been on the same Medicare Advantage or Part D plan for years. Or maybe you've only had the same plan for a single year, but it served you well in 2022 and isn't changing much going into the new year.

In either case, you may be inclined to just keep your coverage intact and save yourself the trouble of digging into other Medicare plan choices. But that could end up being a costly mistake.

Medicare plans can change from year to year. Even if yours isn't changing, another plan might be changing in a manner that makes it a better fit for you, both logistically and financially. So it pays to at least input some data into Medicare's plan finder tool and see what options pop up. It especially makes sense to look at different Medicare plan choices if your needs have changed in any way, whether that means you've started taking a new medication or were recently diagnosed with a health condition you need to learn to manage.

Some Medicare Advantage plans, for example, offer supplemental benefits that can make it easier to cope with chronic conditions, and a little research might lead you to coverage that's a better fit. If you've recently been diagnosed with diabetes, for instance, you might find an Advantage plan that offers benefits like meal delivery services and cooking classes so you're able to get access to the right types of food for your condition.

Don't delay

Medicare open enrollment may be underway right now but ends on Dec. 7. That means you have less than a month to do your research and see whether a plan change makes sense for 2023.

Don't pass up that opportunity because you don't want to put in the time. Chances are, healthcare is one of your largest expenses at this stage of life. And it probably eats up a large chunk of your income -- especially if your main source of that is Social Security. Spending time to explore different Medicare plan choices could end up benefiting you in a very big way come 2023.