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3 Scenarios Where the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period May Help

Not sure what the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is or how it could help you? We’re here to make understanding it easy.

What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) occurs from January 1 through March 31 each year. It was reinstated in 2019 after a break, which may be why it’s unfamiliar. During this enrollment period, individuals who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans can make one change to their enrollment. For example, you can change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan or drop your Medicare Advantage Plan for Original Medicare (Parts A & B) only.

If you return to Original Medicare, you’ll have an opportunity to enroll in a Part D Plan for prescription drug coverage. You won’t automatically become eligible for a Medicare Supplement Plan, although you may qualify through the standard medical underwriting process.

How can Medicare OEP help me?

This enrollment period may benefit you if you:

1. Have a plan that doesn’t suit you

If for any reason you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t suit your needs or situation, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is for you. This period gives you an opportunity to find out which other plans are available to you and change to something that’s a better fit for you.

Medicare Advantage Plans change their prices and benefits nearly every year, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have recently expanded their guidelines to allow new benefits as well. You may be able to find a plan that offers services more in line with your specific needs.

2. Missed the Annual Election Period

OEP follows directly after Medicare’s Annual Election Period (October 15 - December 7) when enrollment for Part C and D Plans is available. However, if you miss this enrollment period for any reason and you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare OEP provides an opportunity to enroll in a different plan.

3. Have changing needs

Perhaps you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Annual Election Period (AEP), but your needs have since changed or you discovered the plan isn’t actually a good fit for you. During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can enroll in a different plan rather than staying in a poor-fit plan for an entire year.

Conclusion

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period may be helpful to you if any of the above three describes your current Medicare enrollment situation. Remember, you can only make one change between January 1 and March 31, and will have to keep that plan the rest of the year.