Speak with a licensed sales agent
1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday

Medicare Enrollment: 3 Reasons the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period May be Worth a Look

medicare-enrollment-why-oep

There are a variety of different Medicare enrollment periods. Why does the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) matter? This enrollment period occurs from January 1 through March 31 and, following on the heels of the Annual Election Period (AEP), it can be easy to miss.

During OEP, individuals who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan can:

  • Change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Drop their Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare only*

*Individuals who return to Original Medicare are given a chance to enroll in a Part D Plan for prescription drug coverage. You will not become eligible for a Medicare Supplement Plan, although you may qualify through medical underwriting.

You can make a change only ONCE during this enrollment period, unlike the Annual Election Period. Essentially, it’s a fail-safe for those who may have enrolled in a plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period without sufficient information.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period may be worthwhile for you in the following scenarios:

One of your doctors is not in the network.

Changing doctors is sometimes a necessary cost of changing Medicare plans. If you’re not especially attached to your doctor and really want the benefits of a certain plan, you might enroll in a plan that doesn’t include all your doctors. However, if you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan without knowing your doctor was out of the network, OEP gives you another Medicare enrollment opportunity to switch to a plan that includes your doctor.

All of your medications aren’t covered.

Changing medications can, in some situations, be much more problematic than changing doctors. If you discover at the beginning of the new year that some of your medications aren’t covered by your new plan’s formulary, you may want to explore a new coverage option and change your Medicare enrollment during Medicare OEP.

The costs are more than you anticipated.

Some Medicare Advantage Plans may have $0 premiums, but depending on your specific situation, your overall costs may turn out to be more than you expected. If the reality of a plan doesn’t meet your needs, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is your opportunity to find a plan with a cost structure that better aligns with your budget.

Medicare OEP: A Unique Medicare Enrollment Opportunity

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is designed to help prevent you from spending an entire year in a Medicare plan that’s not a good fit for you. If you have concerns about your coverage between January 1 and March 31, don’t be afraid to shop for new options. Just remember, you can only change once.