The annual open enrollment window that allows people to make changes to their Medicare Advantage health insurance and Part D prescription drug coverage will close Wednesday, a couple of weeks earlier than in previous years.

Many beneficiaries have until midnight, Dec. 7 to decide whether to switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. The midnight deadline is based on where the beneficiary lives and does not reflect one time zone, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service said.

Medicare Advantage plans are privately run versions of the government's Medicare program, which provides health coverage for the elderly and disabled people. They offer basic Medicare coverage topped with extras, such as vision or dental coverage or premiums lower than standard Medicare rates.

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