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Important Facts About the Medicare Open Enrollment Period

medicare-open-enrollment-facts

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is relatively new, so it might be confusing. We’re here to give you the facts and hopefully make it a little easier to understand.

Newly returned in 2019.

Previous versions of this enrollment period were discontinued. This iteration began in January 2019 and will occur annually until further notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Only Medicare Advantage enrollees are eligible.

This enrollment period only applies to individuals who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) at the time of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

Occurs January 1 to March 31 each year.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period occurs annually starting January 1 and running through March 31.

Only one plan change is permitted.

During this enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries may make only one change to their Medicare enrollment. This is different from other enrollment periods—like the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)—when individuals can typically enroll in and drop Medicare plans multiple times during the enrollment period.

You can change Medicare Advantage Plans.

Your one change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period could be to drop one Medicare Advantage Plan and enroll in a different Medicare Advantage Plan in your area. Once you’ve enrolled in a different plan, you’re committed to that plan for the next year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period through a special circumstance.

You can drop a Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare only.

If you no longer wish to be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to only Medicare Parts A and B.

If you return to Original Medicare, you’ll be eligible to enroll in a Part D Plan.

If you drop your Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll have the opportunity to join a Medicare Part D Plan for prescription drug coverage, since it’s not included in Medicare Parts A and B.

Returning to Original Medicare doesn’t make you eligible for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan.

If you drop a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you’re not automatically eligible for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan. You may still be able to qualify for a plan through medical underwriting.

Need help?

We get it, Medicare can be complicated. That’s why we’re here! Our Medicare Advocates are available to help. Just call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday for your personal no-cost consultation. You can also check out our Medicare Online Enrollment Portal to quickly and easily find, compare, and enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans.