(888) 335-8996

Speak with a Licensed Insurance Agent

Search
Close this search box.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Summary: The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP) occurs annually from January 1 until March 31. During the MA Open Enrollment Period, those who already have Medicare Advantage plans can make one change to their coverage. The MAOEP is not the time to enroll in Medicare Advantage for the first time. Be sure to use this period to review your plan’s network, coverage, and formulary when applicable to ensure that your coverage meets your healthcare needs. Estimated Read Time: 9 mins

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Table of Contents:

  1. When Is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  2. Medicare Advantage By The Numbers
  3. What Can You Do During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  4. What Can You Not Do During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  5. Who is Eligible for the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  6. Can I Switch to a Medigap Plan During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  7. How Many Times Can I Change My Plan During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  8. When is My Effective Date Following the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  9. How to Prepare for the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
  10. What is the Difference Between the Annual Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
  11. What Was the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period?
  12. How to Get Help During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

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

Often, beneficiaries may decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan without fully understanding how it affects their healthcare. Medicare Advantage open enrollment allows you to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan based on what you like or dislike about your current coverage or drop your plan all together.

When Is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The 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.

You should note that 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.

Be sure you’re making an informed decision as 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.

Medicare Advantage By The Numbers

As the number of Medicare Advantage enrollees grows, so does the number of those eligible to utilize the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Here’s what that looks like in 2023:

  • 51% of those enrolled in Medicare had a Medicare Advantage plan
  • The average beneficiary had access to 43 Medicare Advantage plans
  • There were 30.8 million total Medicare Advantage enrollees

These numbers continue to grow each year as more plans become available and more Medicare beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage coverage.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Listen to this Podcast Episode Now! Listen to this Podcast Episode Now!

Medicare Advantage by the Numbers

What Can You Do During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is a one-time opportunity for Medicare Advantage enrollees to make changes to their plan.

During this window, a current Medicare Advantage enrollee can:

  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)
  • Pick up a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan after returning to Original Medicare

MAOEP: What You Can Do

What Can You Not Do During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is only available to those who are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. You cannot enroll in Medicare Advantage for the first time. To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, you must do so during your Initial Enrollment Period, a Special Enrollment Period, or the Annual Enrollment Period.

Additionally, you may not enroll in Original Medicare for the first time. You also can’t enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan without answering underwriting health questions during this enrollment period.

Keep in mind that because you have to undergo medical underwriting, you may not be able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. Furthermore, you may pay more for Medigap coverage as a result of your medical history.

MAOEP: What You Can NOT Do

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

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.

Here are some scenarios in which the Medicare Advantage OEP can benefit qualified beneficiaries:

  • If you are unhappy with your current Medicare Advantage plan.
  • If you wish to enroll in a different Medicare Advantage plan.
  • If you wish to return to Original Medicare and add Medicare Supplement (Medigap) and/or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

Who Can Utilize MAOEP?

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.

Can I Switch to a Medigap Plan During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

You can switch to a Medigap policy during the MA Open Enrollment Period, but you need to remember that medical underwriting is necessary for most. If you decide to drop your Medicare Advantage plan and wish to enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or apply for Medicare Supplement (Medigap) coverage, you may do so.

MAOEP - Switch to Medicare Supplement?

However, if you live in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, or New York, you won’t have to deal with medical underwriting. Therefore, you will be able to enroll in Medigap coverage during MAOEP as normal.

How Many Times Can I Change My Plan During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

You can make one change to your coverage during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Thus, if you switch your plan and are not satisfied with your new coverage, you’ll need to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period to enroll in a new plan for the following year.

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Thus, MAOEP rules during this time mean you should be careful to thoroughly review your plan’s coverage and compare it with all available options in your area.

Number of Changes During MAOEP

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

If you make a change to your plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, your new coverage will go into effect on the first day of the month following your enrollment. For example, applications submitted in January become effective on February 1, and applications in February become effective on March 1.

MAOEP Changes Effective

If you decide to switch Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll be covered by your current plan until your new plan kicks in on the first of the following month. The same goes for those looking to switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.

However, if you decide to switch to Original Medicare and add a Medigap plan, things are a little different:

  • You’ll need to apply for a Medicare Supplement plan before leaving our current Medicare Advantage plan. This is because you could be denied due to medical underwriting.
  • Once you are approved, you’ll need to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan before the first of the following month. Otherwise, you’ll have both Medigap and Medicare Advantage, which is illegal.

Working with a brokerage can help you avoid some of these headaches by having professionals help you along the way. However, it should be noted that beneficiaries are required to conduct the actual cancellation of their Medicare Advantage plans as other parties cannot do so on their behalf.

How to Prepare for the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Since you are only eligible to make one change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, it is essential to make the right choice for your healthcare and budget. To do this, it is extremely important to thoroughly prepare for Medicare Advantage plan open enrollment before it begins. To ensure you are prepared for the MAOEP, you should do the following:

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

How to Prepare for the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Ensure Your Doctors and Hospitals Are in Your Plan’s Network

Each Medicare Advantage plan has its own network which will affect where you can receive healthcare. You’ll need to be sure that your doctors and healthcare facilities are within your plan’s network. Failure to do so means you’ll pay more or have to travel to another healthcare provider for services. If you are switching to a Medicare Supplement plan, however, you can avoid this as Medigap doesn’t have networks.

Ensure Your Plan’s Drug Formulary Covers Your Medications

When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan or Part D plan, the medication covered by each is listed on a formulary. If your medication is listed on a plan’s formulary, then it’s covered. Be sure to research the formularies of each plan beforehand to avoid losing coverage for your prescriptions.

Review Your Plan’s Benefits

The benefits of each Medicare Advantage plan may vary from plan to plan and carrier to carrier. Be sure to review how each plan covers you, including Medicare Supplement plans, before changing to switch to make an informed decision.

Understand Your Plan’s Out-Of-Pocket Costs

Knowing how you are covered for your healthcare is important for financial planning. Out-of-pocket expenses can vary depending on your healthcare plan. Be sure you understand what your responsibilities are before enrolling. For example, if you switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, you may still have copays to deal with, but for those eligible for Medigap Plan F, out-of-pocket costs are non-existent.

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

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) 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.

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.

Find Medicare Plans in 3 Easy Steps

Let us help you navigate your Medicare journey

Any changes made during the Annual Enrollment Period go into effect on January 1 of the following year. However, if you are unhappy during the MAOEP, you can change once more before having to wait until AEP later that 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 healthcare needs for an entire year. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period now replaces the Disenrollment Period.

Today, the Medicare Advantage open enrollment dates and regulations in place represent a modern solution for changing your healthcare over time. Your needs will evolve over time. It’s important to maintain coverage that fits your present and future needs rather than those of the past.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Long Form

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. Making a change doesn’t have to be a hassle and the team at MedicareFAQ can help you transition every step of the way.

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 and educating people like you is our top priority.

Ensuring you are on the right plan to fit your needs is essential, but it will vary from person to person. By utilizing the MAOEP, you can be sure your Medicare Advantage plan is the right fit for your healthcare and budget needs.

Compare plans in your area during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period and all year long by pressing the compare rates button below or giving us a call at the number above.

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/12026-Understanding-Medicare-Advantage-Plans.pdf
  2. Medicare Open Enrollment, CMS. Accessed September 2022.
    https://www.cms.gov/priorities/key-initiatives/medicare-open-enrollment-partner-resources
  3. Medicare Advantage in 2023: Enrollment Update and Key Trends, KFF. Accessed October 2023.
    https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-in-2023-enrollment-update-and-key-trends/
  4. In All But Four States, Seniors on Medicare Can Be Denied a Medigap Policy Due to Pre-existing Conditions, Except During Specified Windows of Opportunity, KFF. Accessed October 2023.
    https://www.kff.org/medicare/press-release/in-all-but-four-states-seniors-on-medicare-can-be-denied-a-medigap-policy-due-to-pre-existing-conditions-except-during-specified-windows-of-opportunity/
Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

10 thoughts on "Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period"

    1. Betsy, you will never have to go through underwriting for a Medicare Advantage plan. However, if you leave Medicare Advantage during MAOEP, and wish to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you will need to go through underwriting to enroll in a Medigap plan.

  1. Can I change my Part D plan during this period? I am on Original Medicare with a Part D drug plan that is not what I thought it was, based on the numbers I saw on medicare.gov.

    1. Hello Robert, unfortunately unless you have a special enrollment period, you are not eligible to change your Medicare Part D plan during this time. The annual Medicare Part D enrollment period is October 15-December 7.

  2. If I want to disenroll from a MA plan and go back to original medicare, do I simply call to cancel my MA and choose a PDP?

    1. Tina, from January 1 through March 31, you can leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. This time is known as the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. To review your options, complete our online rate form to speak with a licensed agent.

  3. I have Medicare Advantage with Kaiser, would like to switch to BLUESHIELD Medigap PPO, can I do it on my Birthday? Or Only bebfore December 7th?

    1. Hi Pravan – today is the last day of the Annual Enrollment Period. However, since you currently have an Advantage plan, you will have another opportunity to switch your Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which will be from January 1 through March 31.

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

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

string(3) "Yes"

5.0 Satisfaction Rating

It’s free and no obligation!

Find the Most Affordable Medicare Plans in your Area

X