It’s Medicare Advantage open enrollment period, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your options or unhappy with your current coverage, now is the time to make a change. But with deadlines quickly approaching, it can be tempting to put off making a decision until later. Don’t fall into this trap – the deadline to switch plans is fast approaching, and if you miss it, you’ll be stuck with your current coverage for another year.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year.
- 48% of those enrolled in Medicare have a Medicare Advantage plan
- The average beneficiary has access to 43 Medicare Advantage plans
- There are 28.5 total Medicare Advantage enrollees
- You cannot make another change until the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
If you’re currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have the opportunity to comparison-shop Medicare Advantage plans for 2023 and make a change in the new year.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) begins on January 1 each year and ends on March 31. This open enrollment period replaces the old Medicare Advantage disenrollment period that ran from January 1 through February 14. The MA OEP also gives you an opportunity to switch Medicare Advantage plans.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and then find that you prefer Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, to this coverage, you’ll have from January 1 through March 31 of each year to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. This is called the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. You can also use this period to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for your prescription coverage, since Original Medicare prescription drug coverage is limited. You also can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another during this period.
What is the Difference between Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment?
Confused about the difference between Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment? Let’s break it down.
The two enrollment periods, though similar, are held at distinct times of the year. Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period occurs from October 15th to December 7th, while the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment spans from January 1st to March 31st.
However, it’s not just the timing that sets these two periods apart. The opportunities for modifying your coverage also differ. During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP), Medicare beneficiaries enjoy a more comprehensive range of options to make changes to their coverage. Conversely, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment gives those with Medicare Advantage plans an extra chance to either adjust their current plans or switch to Original Medicare.
What changes can I make?
If your Medicare Advantage plan isn’t meeting your needs, you may want to consider exploring the alternative plans offered during the current Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. During this period, you can:
- change from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a different one
- drop your Medicare Advantage coverage and go back to Original Medicare.
- have the opportunity to alter your Part D prescription drug coverage as well. For example, If you have Medicare Advantage without prescription drug coverage, you may switch to a Medicare Advantage plan that includes it.
- On the other hand, if you decide to drop Medicare Advantage altogether, you can enroll in a separate Part D prescription drug plan after reverting back to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
It’s important to keep in mind that the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period only applies to individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B), this period does not apply to you.
If you’re interested in transitioning from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan for the current year, you must do so during one of the enrollment periods specified. Note that the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is not intended for switching between stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans.
Which changes are not allowed?
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, the following changes are not allowed:
- Signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time if you’re not already enrolled in one. You can only switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Enrolling in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan for the first time. However, if you’re losing coverage for a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan, you may be eligible to enroll in a separate Part D plan.
- Switching from one stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another.
It’s important to note that the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period does not apply to other types of Medicare health plans, such as Medicare Savings Accounts, Medicare Cost plans, or the PACE program. Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans may have benefit limits and other restrictions, such as limiting non-medical transportation to 20 trips per year and requiring you to use specific providers.
Why Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan?
There are many reasons why you might want to change your Medicare Advantage plan. Perhaps you’re dissatisfied with the quality of care you’re receiving, or you’re tired of dealing with high out-of-pocket costs. Maybe you’re looking for a plan that covers more of the services you need, or you simply want a plan with a better network of providers. Whatever the reason, if you’re unhappy with your current Medicare Advantage plan, now is the time to make a change.
When else can you enroll in Medicare Advantage plans?
Here’s a brief rundown of your options for changing your Medicare coverage, but with certain limitations.
Bear in mind that, in most cases, you cannot adjust your Medicare Advantage plans. You can only modify or switch your Medicare Advantage plans or prescription drug plans during:
- Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
- Medicare Annual Enrollment Period -which takes place from October 15th to December 7th annually.
- A Special Enrollment Period, if you happen to qualify.
- A 5-star Special Enrollment Period for either a Medicare health or prescription drug plan.
Stay informed with Medicare Enrollment Periods, take advantage of your options, and secure the best coverage for you and your family.
What’s new for Medicare Advantage plans in 2023?
- Medicare Advantage Enrollees to pay average premium of $18 per Month in 2023. For Medicare members, the cost of enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans will see a decrease in 2023. On average, enrollees will pay $18 per month, a drop from the $19 charged in 2022. This news is sure to bring relief to many Medicare recipients.
- Major Medicare Advantage Insurers Expand into New States! Exciting news for those searching for Medicare Advantage plans! Five major Medicare Advantage insurers – Aetna, Cigna, Elevance Health, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare – have all announced plans to expand into new states and counties in 2023. This means that more options will be available for Medicare recipients in more places.
- Two Significant Changes for Part C and Part D Drug Coverage in 2023. For those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Part D plan, two important cost and benefit changes are in store for 2023. Firstly, certain types of insulin will cost no more than $35 per month, providing much-needed financial relief. Secondly, all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will be free, including the shingles vaccine.
When do changes become effective?
For instance, if you submit your Medicare Advantage plan application in July, your coverage will commence from August 1st. Keep in mind that it’s imperative to act promptly during the enrollment periods to ensure your changes become effective on time. If you miss the deadline, you may need to wait until the next enrollment period to make changes to your coverage.
There are a variety of Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) that do require specific situations in order to be able to enroll. Most SEPs are available all year depending on the circumstances and if no other enrollment period is available. Plans are always effective the first day of the month following the date of submission.
Q: Can I enroll in or switch to any Medicare Advantage plan during the MAEP?
A: You can enroll in or switch to any Medicare Advantage plan that is available in your service area during the MAEP, as long as you meet the plan’s eligibility requirements.
Q: Can I enroll in or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan outside of the MAEP or AEP?
A: You may be able to enroll in or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan outside of the MAEP or AEP if you experience a qualifying life event, such as a move or a change in your health needs. This is known as a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
Q: Who is eligible to enroll in or switch Medicare Advantage plans during the MAEP?
A: Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) are eligible to enroll in or switch their Medicare Advantage plans during the MAEP.
The Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period (MAEP) is an annual period from January 1 to March 31, during which Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in or switch their Medicare Advantage plans. It’s important to review your plan options, compare costs, and check if your preferred doctors and hospitals are in-network before making any changes. While the MAEP is one option for changing your Medicare Advantage coverage, there are other enrollment periods as well, including the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) and Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). It’s important to stay informed and understand the different enrollment periods to ensure you are getting the best possible coverage for your health care needs.
Medicare can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Call Health Plans in Oregon at 503-928-6918 for details on enrollment, costs, options, and coverage comparisons.
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