The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is from January 1st through March 31st annually. For those on Medicare for a while, you may remember this time as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).
However, the (MADP) is no longer applicable; instead, you have more time and more options with the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). During the MA OEP you can only make one change; so, if you change, make sure it’s in your best interest.
It’s not a necessity to change. The MA OEP is a chance to change plans when the policy you chose was not the best option.
If you’re unhappy with the choice made during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15th through December 7th can change plans during the MA OEP.
For example, you enroll using the AEP selection on an application for a new plan in October. Now, your new policy will become effective on January 1st of the following year.
When you select a new policy, you don’t have to notify your old plan of the change. The change will happen automatically on the first day of the new year.
However, if you decide you no longer want that plan, you’ll change during the MA OEP.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)
You can drop or switch your Medicare Advantage plans once between January 1st through March 31st.
This new enrollment period will happen each year, and during this time, recipients can do the following:
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, with or without a Prescription Drug plan.
This new Open Enrollment period won’t allow people to change from one Prescription plan to another.
You can only make one change during this period. So, once a change happens, you can’t make adjustments until AEP.
MA OEP Effective Dates
If you enroll in a policy during the MA OEP coverage starts on the 1st day of the month following the date of the new enrollment request.
For example, those requests in January become effective on February 1. Applications in February become effective March 1.
The Difference Between AEP and OEP
It’s common to mistake the AEP for OEP. The Annual Enrollment Period is the enrollment time during the fall, October 15- December 7th, annually.
During AEP, you can make changes more than once; the final enrollment is the one in effect.
The OEP is for people who chose a less than optimal plan during AEP. It’s a second shot at a better policy.
If you find yourself a better plan during Medicare Advantage OEP, change while you have the chance.
What if you Miss the AEP and the OEP
If you miss the AEP and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you may still have an option to change plans. The Special Election Period (SEP) allows individuals to enroll, disenroll, and switch MA plans in particular situations.
Such qualifications consist of the following:
- Have full Medicare AND Medicaid coverage
- Reside in a rehabilitation hospital, nursing home or Skilled Nursing Facility
- If a 5-Star MA plan is in your area
- When you qualify for the Low-Income Subsidy program
- If you move out of your plan’s service area
You only need one of the qualifications on the list for eligibility. When making changes during a SEP, coverage will start the first day of the month after the application submission and acceptance.
For example, if you applied for coverage on March 15th, the soonest you would have coverage would be April 1st. You may only use the same SEP once per year.
If I Drop my Medicare Advantage plan and Switchback to Medicare, Would I Be Able to Enroll in a Medigap Plan
Once you disenroll from an MA plan, you can enroll in a Medigap policy. It’s essential to make sure your advantage plan cancels BEFORE your Medigap plan application.
Although, if you need to go through underwriting, working with an agent is a serious suggestion. Many seniors successfully switch from MA to Medigap.
Changes from MA to Medigap are best during AEP; although, it’s possible to make the change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
The biggest reasons to change include looking for a more extensive doctor network, increase benefits, and protect wealth.
Changing from MA to Medigap isn’t for everyone; make sure it’s in your budget and make sure you’re eligible.
The Difference Between the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period and the MA OEP
There is a Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period that occurs once, maybe twice in a beneficiary’s lifetime. The MS OEP happens when you turn 65; it gives you the ability to enroll in Medigap with Guarantee Issue (GI) rights.
If you miss the MS OEP, there may not be another chance to enroll in Medigap without underwriting. Those with serious health issues, such as someone in need of a pancreas transplant, should consider the benefits of having a supplement.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is for everyone from January 1st – March 31 each year. During the MA OEP beneficiaries don’t have GI rights for a supplement policy.
Learn More About the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
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