Persons currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan have the opportunity to switch plans during the forthcoming 2024 Open Enrollment Period.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) was launched in 2019 and continues in 2024.
You can only enroll and disenroll in a Medicare Advantage plan at certain times of the year. The Medicare Advantage OEP (January 1 – March 31) applies solely to those with coverage under Medicare Advantage plans. The period allows enrollees to switch back to Original Medicare (plus a Part D plan should they desire) or switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
Beneficiaries are able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (Oct 15-Dec 7). The Medicare Advantage OEP permits those who enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan who want to revert to Original Medicare or switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period Effective Dates
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) begins on January 1 and ends on March 31. Throughout this period, Medicare Advantage plan holders can:
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare.
- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
- Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
- Drop your Medicare drug coverage completely.
- Sign up for a Part D Prescription Drug plan.
Plan holders can leave their Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare regardless of how long they have been enrolled. For example, one can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the fall Annual Election Period and revert to Original Medicare, Part A, and Part B during the following MA OEP.
Should you disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan, the change comes into effect the month immediately after you make the request. So, if you disenroll any time during January, your Original Medicare plan will go into effect on February 1.
What You’ll Need if you Would Like to Change Plans
Thinking of making the switch? Having this information with you while comparing plans will make all the difference:
- A list of the prescriptions you take.
- A list of your medical provider(s), doctor(s), and hospital(s).
- A list of your current plan’s extra benefits, like helping with dental care.
- Information from your current plan explaining deductibles, coinsurance, premiums, and copays.
Why you Might Switch Medicare Advantage Plans
Some of the biggest reasons people make the switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage include but are not limited to:
- Prescription costs. Comparing prices between plans for the medications you’re on can make a huge difference – often a difference that can cost thousands of dollars. Firms will make recommendations based on the medications you take, how often you take them, and how many you take.
- Better benefits. Medicare Advantage can offer additional benefits not included in Original Medicare Part A and Part B – but they vary depending on the plan you choose. If you have more healthcare needs, try to find a plan that accommodates them!
- Copay costs. Considering how many times a year you may see your doctor or a specialist.It is important to take copays into account when reviewing Medicare Advantage plans.
- In-network doctors. It’s best to choose a plan that has your doctor in the network – a lot of people will choose a plan without knowing this information and then have to scramble to correct their mistake.
Changes to the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP)
Those who have been on Medicare for many years may remember the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). The MADP was replaced by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period in 2019.
The MADP previously gave beneficiaries the option to disenroll from Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare. This was previously possible between January 1 and February 14.
With the introduction of Medicare Advantage OEP, beneficiaries can switch to Original Medicare and other Medicare Advantage plans in a more extensive time window (January 1 and March 31).
The change to Medicare Advantage OEP gives enrollees additional time to change and more flexibility to switch to different plans.
It is important to remember that only one change is possible during the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, so time should be taken to ensure the switch is in your best interest.
Differences Between AEP & MAOEP
The many Medicare buzzwords and different enrollment periods can be confusing. Perhaps the most common query is the difference between AEP and MAOEP.
AEP = Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.
MAOEP = Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
AEP is the time of year when Medicare beneficiaries can add, change, or disenroll from their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage. The changes can be made from October 15 to December 7 and take effect on January 1 of the following year.
During MAOEP, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can make specific changes to their plan coverage. This could include switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or disenrolling from Medicare Advantage and returning to Original Medicare.
In essence, the MAOEP allows beneficiaries who enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan during AEP to review it and, if they feel it does not meet their needs, to make a one-time change.
Any changes made to your plan during MAOEP will take effect on the first day of the following month after your current plan processed your requested change.
While Medicare plans such as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D have open enrollment periods every year, Medicare Supplement open enrollment is more limited.
Medicare Supplement insurance (also known as Medigap) works alongside Original Medicare coverage to help fill in specific gaps. The ideal time to enroll is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This 6-month period begins the first month you have Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and you’re 65 or older. If you miss the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, there may not be another chance to enroll in Medigap without underwriting.
Who can use the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period?
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is for anyone who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and wants to switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or Original Medicare.
When is the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period?
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is from January 1st to March 31st of each year. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or switch back to Original Medicare during this period.
When can I sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan?
You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the 7 month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.