Benefits Buzz

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: Round 2

Posted on January 8th, 2019

You may be familiar with Medicare’s open enrollment period (OEP) which occurs each fall. From October 15th until December 7th of each year, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan of their choice. This includes enrolling in a plan for the first time or changing to a new plan.

But did you know there is a second OEP specific to Medicare Advantage plans?

This is something new for 2019 and future years, and it replaces the Medicare Advantage disenrollment period that was in place in previous years. Now, from January 1st until March 31st, anyone who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can make a one-time change to their coverage. Permissible changes include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Changing from a Medicare Advantage plan without Part D coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D coverage (or vice versa).

  • Changing from a Medicare Advantage plan with an HMO network to a Medicare Advantage plan with a PPO network (or vice versa).

  • Changing to another Medicare Advantage plan offered by the same insurance company.

  • Changing to another Medicare Advantage plan offered by a different insurance company. 

  • Canceling the Medicare Advantage plan and returning to Original Medicare. A stand-alone Part D plan can also be obtained in this scenario.

Changes will generally be effective on the 1st of the month after the request is made. As an example, if an application to change Medicare Advantage plans was submitted on January 20th, the change will be effective on February 1st.

It should also be noted that this OEP does not apply to those individuals who are currently enrolled in a stand-alone Part D plan. No changes are permitted to stand-alone Part D plans until the fall open enrollment period unless there is a qualifying event which makes a person eligible for a midyear special enrollment period. 


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