Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
Starting 2019, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) restored the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP). The Medicare Advantage OEP begins on January 1 and ends on March 31 of each year. Medicare Advantage members may make a one-time election to switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without Part D drug coverage) or return to Original Medicare (with or without Part D drug coverage).
What, when, and who?
What changes can be made during OEP?
- Individuals enrolled in an Medicare Advantage Part D Plan can use the OEP to make a one-time change to a different Medicare Advantage Part D Plan, Medicare Advantage Only Plan, or Original Medicare (with or without a PDP).
- Individuals enrolled in an Medicare Advantage Only Plan can use the OEP to make a one-time change to a different Medicare Advantage Only Plan, Medicare Advantage Part D Plan, or Original Medicare (with or without a PDP).
When is OEP?
- From January 1 to March 31 each year.
- For newly Medicare Advantage eligible individuals, the OEP occurs the first 3 months when they have both Part A and Part B.
Who can use OEP?
- Individuals enrolled in an Medicare Advantage Part D Plan or a Medicare Advantage Only Plan.
Note: They may sound similar, but don’t confuse OEP with AEP! The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. During this time you can make changes to your Medicare Plan.
Example 1: Medicare Advantage Part D to another Medicare Advantage Part D
Meet Janet. Janet is 67, and has been enrolled in the Medicare Advantage Plan ABC in her area since she was 65. Janet decides to switch to plan XYZ during the Annual Enrollment Period in December. When February comes, she decides she’d prefer to return to plan ABC. Janet contacts her agent and they finish the application and turn it in on February 10. Her new ABC coverage starts the following month on March 1. At this time, her XYZ plan is automatically dropped.
Example 2: Medicare Advantage Part D to Original Medicare and a Prescription Drug Plan
Meet Becky. Becky has lived in the same area for years and has finally decided to purchase the second home she’s always wanted. But there’s a catch: she won’t be able to stay with her Medicare Advantage Part D HMO Plan because she’ll be living in both houses for part of the year and needs a doctor in each location. After talking with her agent, she finds the Medicare Supplement Plan that’s right for her. She plans to drop her Medicare Advantage Plan on April 1 and enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan and Original Medicare.