When is Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment?
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) runs from January 1 through March 31 every year. This period applies only to people who are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. During this period, the health insurance enrollees can do two things:
- Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch your health insurance from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare (and add Part D coverage if you wish)
It doesn’t go the other way around, though. Although you can disenroll from Medicare Advantage to join Original Medicare during the MA OEP, you can’t switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage. You can, however, switch to and from either insurance program during the Fall Open Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period (AEP). The AEP runs from October 15 through December 7 annually.
Starting in 2019, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period replaced the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), during which enrollees could disenroll from Medicare Advantage and receive coverage from Original Medicare instead.
When can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan?
Your first chance to join a Medicare Advantage plan is during your initial enrollment period (IEP). For most, this enrollment period begins three months before their 65th birthday and ends three months after. If you enroll before you turn 65, your coverage begins the month you turn 65.
If you’re collecting disability and you’re under 65, your initial enrollment period begins the 22nd month of collecting disability and ends seven months later.
When might I qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?
There are all kinds of circumstances when you might get a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to change your Medicare Advantage coverage. These SEPs occur outside the typical enrollment periods and typically last for 60 days. There are many instances and rules for when you may get an SEP, but in general, they happen when you lose coverage from your insurance plan, you move out of your plan’s service area, your plan changes in some way, or if your insurance company withdraws from your service area.
If you’re looking to find the right Medicare Advantage plan for you, but you’re not sure if you’re able to apply, call a knowledgeable insurance agent.
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