What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

Published by Medicare Made Clear®

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is when Medicare Advantage plan members can make changes to their existing plan or disenroll from their current plan and return to Original Medicare. It runs from January 1 to March 31.

The changes you can make during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment are similar to those you can make during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. It basically gives you another opportunity to get the coverage you want and need.

How is Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment different from Medicare Annual Enrollment?

The main difference between Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment and Medicare Annual Enrollment is who can use each one. Medicare Annual Enrollment is when anyone who has Medicare can make coverage changes for the upcoming year, while Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment is only for people who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Another difference between the two is the timing. Medicare Annual Enrollment is October 15 - December 7, while Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment is January 1 - March 31. Both happen every year.

How to get ready for Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment

Whether you recently enrolled or have had your Medicare Advantage plan for years, you can take this opportunity to confirm - or change - your plan choice. Think about your experiences using your plan and review your plan benefits. How does your plan stack up in the following areas?

  • Your doctor and other providers are in the plan network.
  • Your prescription drugs are on the plan formulary.
  • You are comfortable with your costs, including premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.
  • You have the additional coverage that you want for things like dental, vision, and hearing care.
  • You are happy with your plan's additional benefits such as fitness programs, mail-order pharmacy, nurse line, and other wellness services.

If you decide to make a change, you have from January 1 - March 31 to do it. You can explore other plan options. Your new plan benefits will be in effect for the rest of the year.

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