Meagan Dow, CFA®, CFP™
Senior Analyst, Client Needs Research

For most people, October or November starts open enrollment season. It may not be as fun as Halloween or Thanksgiving, but it could mean saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Whether you’re enrolled in Medicare (and probably bombarded by advertisements), a Marketplace plan or getting messages from your employer, open enrollment is the opportunity to ensure your health insurance (and workplace benefits, if available) is the best fit for your needs.

Medicare enrollees:

About all those Medicare Advantage commercials

It’s hard to miss all the commercials advertising the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Benefits to Medicare Advantage

  • Often has lower premiums than Medigap/supplement plans
  • May include benefits not found in Original Medicare (such as dental and vision)

Drawbacks to Medicare Advantage

  • Once you’ve been with an Advantage plan for more than a year, it’s difficult to return to Original Medicare with an affordable Medigap/supplemental plan
  • Generally come with more restrictive coverage networks
  • Can require pre-authorizations for certain services
  • There’s evidence to suggest that some plans routinely deny care that should be covered1

Takeaway: Medicare Advantage plans can be a great choice, especially if you’re a savvy insurance shopper. But there’s a lot of variation among plans, so it’s important to fully understand the plan and the reputation of the company providing it before signing up.

Marketplace plans: Review health insurance plan

  • For states, 2023 open enrollment starts Nov. 1.
  • For states with their own exchanges, open enrollment dates vary but tend to also start on Nov.
    1. Check with your state for their deadlines.
  • Compare plans using This tool will help determine if you qualify for any tax premium credits or cost-sharing subsidies and show you available plans in your area.

Workplace open enrollment: Review all available benefits

Each employer sets their own open enrollment period, but they generally occur in the fall so that employees’ elections can take effect on Jan. 1. While it’s easy to just select whatever you chose last year, below are a few things to keep in mind as you’re navigating your choices.

Retirement savings plans

Retirement savings decisions aren’t generally part of open enrollment, as you can usually change your elections at any time. That said, while you’re evaluating your workplace benefits, it’s not a bad idea to learn about or review your options for saving for retirement. At a minimum, try to take advantage of any employer match that’s offered.

It may not be the most exciting fall tradition, but giving a little attention to open enrollment, and ensuring you have the coverage and elections you need, can best position you and your family for the year ahead. And once you’re finished, go enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.

1 U.S. DHHS Office of Inspector General, “Some Medicare Advantage Organization Denials of Prior Authorization Requests Raise Concerns About Beneficiary Access to Medically Necessary Care,” April 2022 (

Meagan Dow

Meagan Dow leads the Analyst team within Edward Jones Client Needs Research. This team focuses on creating advice and guidance helping investors prepare for retirement, enjoy their retirement, save for education, plan their estates and protect their financial goals.

Meagan is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Certified Financial PlannerTM.

Read Full Bio