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Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period


Suppose you are unhappy with your current Medicare Advantage plan. Luckily, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is an annual window that allows you to make a one-time change to your existing Medicare Advantage coverage.

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We often hear how beneficiaries decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan without fully understanding its benefits. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period allows you to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan based on what you like or dislike about your current coverage or drop Medicare Advantage all together.

What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment PeriodThe Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, this is not the only enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans. There are other Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods you should understand.

During this window, a current Medicare Advantage enrollee can:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
  • Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan, returning to Original Medicare
  • Pick up a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan after returning to Original Medicare

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is not the time to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan when you have Original Medicare. You can only do this during the Annual Enrollment Period in the fall.

Additionally, you can only make one change to your healthcare coverage during this time, so choose wisely. Once you make that change, you cannot make another change until the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

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Who is Eligible for the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is only for beneficiaries who currently have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to make a change. This window is not a time for new beneficiaries to enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B, or Part D. It is also not a time for those on Original Medicare to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan.

If you are a new beneficiary looking to enroll in Original Medicare, you may do so during your Initial Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period, or a Special Enrollment Period if you qualify.

When is My Effective Date Following the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

If you use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to change your Medicare Advantage plan selection, coverage begins on the first day of the month following your application. For example, applications submitted in January become effective on February 1, and applications in February become effective on March 1.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period allows you to make changes to Medicare Advantage plans.  

What is the Difference Between the Annual Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Annual Enrollment Period is the open enrollment window for all Medicare beneficiaries each fall. It runs from October 15 through December 7, unlike the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January to March.

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During the Annual Enrollment Period, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D coverage more than once. Still, the final enrollment is the one that takes effect on January 1.

New plans for the following year are also available during the Annual Enrollment Period. Those on Original Medicare may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time.

Any changes made during the Annual Enrollment Period go into effect on January 1 of the following year.

What Was the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period ran annually from January 1 to February 14. The Affordable Care Act legislation discontinued the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period in 2010.

The problem with discontinuing the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is that it forced people to keep coverage that they did not want or did not fit their health care needs for an entire year. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period now replaces the Disenrollment Period.

Often, beneficiaries are under the false assumption that Medicare Advantage is the same as a Medicare Supplement plan. This is far from the truth.

There are many misconceptions about Medicare Advantage plans. Thus, ensuring you are on the best plan to fit your needs is essential. By utilizing the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can be sure your Medicare Advantage plan is the right fit for your healthcare and budget needs.

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How to Get Help During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

If you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage coverage and wish to change plans or return to Original Medicare, we can help.

At MedicareFAQ, we have expert Medicare insurance licensed agents who will help you compare all the best Medicare Advantage plans in your area. Complete our online rate form to compare plans and receive personalized rate quotes today.

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Sources:

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Understanding Medicare Advantage, Medicare . Accessed September 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11219-understanding-medicare-part-c-d.pdf
  2. Medicare Open Enrollment, CMS . Accessed September 2022.
    https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Reach-Out/Find-tools-to-help-you-help-others/Medicare-Open-Enrollment

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

10 thoughts on “Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

  1. Which Medicare program fits best when you also have VA coverage and travel throughout the year often away from home base.

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