Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)

Alex Enabnit
Licensed Insurance Agent and Medicare Expert Writer
December 10, 2019

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.

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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.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period

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.

I E P Disability Enrollment Period

You can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period, which starts on October 15 and runs through December 7 every year. Want to learn how to enroll in Medicare Advantage? See our guide.

Learn more about enrollment periods in this enrollment period guide. Also learn more about disenrollment periods for Medicare Advantage in our guide. 

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.

Want help?

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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Content on this site has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the United States Government, any state Medicare agency, or any private insurance agency (collectively "Medicare System Providers"). Eligibility.com is a DBA of Clear Link Technologies, LLC and is not affiliated with any Medicare System Providers.

Alex Enabnit
Written by
Alex Enabnit
Medicare and geriatric care expert, Alex has one motivation behind every word he writes, and that’s finding you the best medical coverage for your situation. Alex has been featured on Bloomer Boomer, Best Company, HealthPopuli.com, the Daily Ledger on the One America News Network, WBAP News radio, and more. Outside of work, you can find him hiking with his wife and pup or (occasionally) going to the gym.
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