What’s the New Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage?

Steven Mott by Steven Mott | Licensed since 2012

This article was updated on: 06/11/2019

Starting in 2019, there’s a new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP). The OEP lets you to switch Medicare Advantage plans.

This new open enrollment period will replace the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.

Here are more details about the new Medicare Advantage open enrollment period.

When is the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

Starting in 2019, the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) gives you a chance to change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. It also extends the time when you can disenroll from Medicare Advantage and go back to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period ran from January 1 to February 14. The new Medicare Advantage OEP goes from January 1 to March 31.

What changes can you make with the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

During the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you may be able to:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, if you made one of the changes described above and lost your prescription drug coverage.

What changes are off limits with the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

During the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you generally cannot:

  • Sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you’re not already enrolled in one. In other words, you can switch plans, but not get one for the first time.
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP). But suppose you’re losing this type of coverage by dropping a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (or switching to a plan that doesn’t have this coverage). You might be able to sign up for a PDP in these cases.
  • Switch from one stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period doesn’t apply to other types of Medicare health plans, such as Medicare Savings Accounts, Medicare Cost plans, or the PACE program. PACE stands for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Is there another open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans?

If you want to switch Medicare Advantage plans, here’s another chance. The Fall Open Enrollment Period – also known as the Annual Election Period – lets you make certain coverage changes.

The Annual Election Period (AEP) runs from October 15 through December 7 every year. During the AEP, you can generally:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan if you don’t have one
  • Drop a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
  • Switch from one stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if you don’t have one
  • Drop a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan

You may be able to make other coverage changes during the AEP.

Learn more about when you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Would you like to compare Medicare Advantage plans and see if there’s one in your area that would work better for you than your current plan? All you need to do is enter your zip code in the box on this page to begin.



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