Open Enrollment

Whether your health insurance comes through your employer or through a federal program, each year there is a period of time set aside for plan participants to make changes.

To make changes outside these open enrollment periods usually requires a specific life event like the change of employment or the birth or adoption of a child. Employers set their own open enrollment periods. For those who receive insurance through Medicare or the federal health insurance marketplace, national open enrollment periods are set.

Medicare Open Enrollment Oct. 15-Dec. 7

Regardless of what parts of Medicare you use, open enrollment is a great time give your benefits a check-up. Here’s a good way to start: is the authoritative source for understanding your Medicare benefits and any changes to the federal program.

Know your Medicare ABCD's and how they fit together

• Parts A & B – Original Medicare - cover hospital care and doctor’s visits respectively. Parts A & B can be used with any hospital or clinic that takes Medicare across the country. To give themselves full cover, people in original Medicare can enroll in Part D - prescription drug coverage and supplement Medicare (Medigap) plans.

• Part C – Medicare Advantage Plans ¬ replaces original Medicare and typically includes prescription drug coverage and other benefits. The plans, which are managed by private companies, use networks of providers and facilities. Participants can change plans during open enrollment.

Comparison shop on

• Whether you opt for Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare with Part D coverage, it’s a great idea to compare plans during annual enrollment. Costs and coverage can change from year to year as can your individual circumstances and medical needs

• Search by Hospital when considering Medicare Advantage
Once you have found the plans open to you, enter your preferred hospital network information to further narrow the list to only plans that consider your hospital in network. North Mississippi Health Services is a participating provider with United Healthcare (AARP) Medicare Advantage plans and AETNA Medicare Advantage plans.

• Search by Physician(s)
Just as you did with hospitals, enter your preferred physician(s) to find the plans accepted by your health care providers. North Mississippi Health Services affiliated physicians are participating providers with United Healthcare (AARP) Medicare Advantage plans and AETNA Medicare Advantage plans.

• Search by Prescription Drug(s)
For either Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug coverage, you can comparison shop using a list of your current medications to find the best fit.

Need in person help?
Local insurance agents and advisors are available to those who want help wading through the options for Medicare Advantage, Part D coverage and Medi-Gap policies.

Need to change plans outside of open enrollment?

Check to see if you qualify. Open Enrollment Nov. 1-Jan. 15

Most adults under the age of 65 access health insurance through their employers but some people need to purchase their own health insurance.

The Federal Marketplace on is the only place that Mississippi residents can apply tax credits and subsidies to help cover the cost of health care premiums. Those tax credits and subsidies are available to those who cannot access affordable health insurance through employers and meet certain income requirements. In 2021, nearly 110,000 Mississippians enrolled in plans through the Federal Marketplace, and nearly all received premium subsidies, according to

Like other forms of health insurance, the federal exchange has an open enrollment period where consumers make changes.
Open Enrollment dates for 2022 health insurance:

• Nov. 1, 2021: First day to enroll, re-enroll or change an insurance plan for 2021.
• Dec. 15, 2021, Deadline to enroll for coverage that starts January 1, 2022.
• Jan. 15, 2022: Last day for open enrollment in the federal marketplace.

In Mississippi, three insurers offer plans on the federal exchange. North Mississippi Health Services is a provider for all three plans offered in Mississippi.

Ambetter from Magnolia Health Available to residents in all 82 Mississippi counties.
CIGNA Available to residents of Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union and Webster counties.
Molina Health Available to residents in all 82 Mississippi counties.

In northwest Alabama, BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama offers plans in Colbert, Franklin, Lamar and Marion counties. North Mississippi Medical Center-Hamilton and its clinics are in network for these plans, but non-emergency services at NMHS facilities in Mississippi may require prior approval. 

county map of NMHS coverage area

Need to change plans outside of open enrollment?

Check to see if you qualify.

Be a Savvy (Health Insurance) Shopper

Because so many people rely on Medicare, it can be fertile ground for scams. AARP lists Medicare card scams as among the most common targeting U.S. seniors. Scammers can strike anytime, but they are often most active during open enrollment between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. They are looking to grab Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card information and other personal information.

Common Scams

• Help obtaining a new or replacement Medicare card or a Medicare card with a chip.
• Offers of free medical products or services
• Threats of cancelling Medicare coverage unless consumers chose a particular prescription drug plan.
• Promises to get ineligible procedures or devices covered through a back door or offers of money for services that were never performed.
• Fake Medicare representatives seeking payment for services.
• Bogus refunds from Medicare or private insurers related to a lawsuit settlement or pandemic relief
• High pressure sales pitches for discounted policies for Medicare Advantage plans, Medi-Gap policies or Part D prescription drug plans. There are real plans offered by reputable companies that can be very helpful, but make sure you are dealing with an authorized agent and you understand the plans. Seek help from an attorney, trusted friend or family member to evaluate what is best for you.

Protective Measures

Know the rules

• Medicare will never contact you without permission for your Medicare number and other personal information. Medicare representatives will not try to sell you anything. They will not ask for payment over the phone.
• Private companies offering Medicare-related policies must follow strict rules. There are deadlines for enrollment periods, but you should have time to consider any policy.
• Understand how your health care providers communicate with you and verify your identity to protect your information.

Take simple steps to protect your information and Medicare benefits

• Protect your private personal information by storing ID cards, medical data and sensitive information in a secure place. Do not give out private personal information to those you did not contact.
• Don’t answer calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize. Review any voicemails to see if it’s a person or business you know before returning the call.
• Look closely at all Medicare-related materials received through the postal service or e-mail. Just because it says Medicare does not mean it came from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
• When in doubt, do your research. Talk to independent sources and let their expertise give you peace of mind.

Please Note

NMHS' participation with any product or insurance plan is subject to change without notice. Additionally, insurance companies offer a variety of plans and may change the names and benefits at any point. A patient’s level of coverage depends on the specific benefits outlined in your level of coverage and your plan. To ensure that NMHS and its physicians are in-network, it is the patient's responsibility to verify that NMHS is a participating provider and their benefit plan allows them access as of the day of a visit and/or admission. Please contact your insurance plan to obtain this information.