Need to review your Medicare plan?
What you need to know about Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
What changes can you make during OEP?
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period takes place every year on January 1st and ends on March 31st. During this period, you can make changes to your Medicare Policy. It’s often called Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Let’s review the changes you can and can’t make during this OEP, and how it differs from the Annual Election Period.
What is the Open Enrollment Period (OEP)?
Each year from January 1st until March 31st, you can switch your Medicare plan if enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. During OEP you can make the change from a Medicare Advantage plan to a different one or to Original Medicare. It is important to know that you can only change plans once during this period.
If you recently turned 65 and were too late enrolling into Medicare during your initial period (when you were first eligible; 3 months before and after you turned 65) you can use the Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) to enroll in a Medicare part A and/or B plan. GEP also starts on January first – March 31st. You might qualify for a Special Medicare Enrollment Period (SEP), If you missed your initial enrollment period and had creditable coverage. For more information you can read our other blog about what to do if you missed your Medicare enrollment period.
What changes can you make during OEP?
What is possible during OEP?
- You can Switch to a different type of Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).
- You can Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to having an Original Medicare plan (Parts A & B).
- You can Enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) if you want to go back to an Original Medicare plan
What is not possible during OEP?
- You can’t switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- You can’t add a Medicare drug plan if you’re in Original Medicare.
- You can’t change your Medicare drug plan to another if you’re in Original Medicare.
Do I have to enroll in Medicare every year?
It is not required to make any changes to your Medicare coverage every year. If you are happy with your plan, you can keep it.
However, reviewing your plan every year is wise to ensure it meets your needs and that you are not overpaying for your policy.
A different Medicare plan in your area could offer better provider networks, lower costs, a more extensive range of coverage, or other benefits that make the plan a better fit for you.
What is the difference between Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) and OEP ?
OEP: is from January 1st–March 31st.
Your new coverage will start the first day of the month after you ask to enroll in the plan.
During OEP, you can.
- You can Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).
- You can Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to having an Original Medicare plan (Parts A & B).
- You can Enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) if you want to return to an Original Medicare plan.
What is the Annual Election Period?
AEP: From October 15th – December 7th.
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), you make specific changes to your Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan.
You can make the following changes during AEP (Medicar.gov):
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
- Add on a Medicare drug plan.
- Change from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
- Drop your Medicare drug coverage altogether.