For 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have brought back the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, or OEP. The Medicare Advantage OEP is not to be confused with the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs from October 15 through December 7. The new OEP occurs from January 1 through March 31 of 2019. During this time, 2019 Medicare Advantage members can make a plan change without penalty from CMS.
So Long to the MADP
The Medicare Advantage OEP replaces the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). During the MADP, members could leave their Medicare Advantage plans if they chose — but their only option was to return to Original Medicare. With the new OEP, members will have much more flexibility to change plans, making it a great opportunity for Medicare Advantage members.
What Changes You Can Make During the Medicare Advantage OEP
Between January 1 and March 31, members can make the following changes:
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
- Drop a Medicare Advantage plan and switch to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and a standalone prescription drug (Part D) plan
- Drop a Medicare Advantage plan and switch to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and a Medicare Supplement plan (also called a Medigap plan)
The effective date of Medicare Advantage disenrollments during the OEP will be the first day of the month following the date the disenrollment request is received. This means that disenrollment requests received by a Medicare Advantage plan in January will be effective February 1; those received in February will be effective March 1, and those received in March will be effective April 1.
There is one catch, though: each Medicare Advantage member can only make one switch during OEP.
Find the Plan That’s Right for You
If you or a loved one are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan, the OEP provides an opportunity for you to make a change, and with so many strong Medicare Advantage plans in the region, you’re bound to find one that’s right for you. Medicare Advantage plans offer high value for their costs. They can include prescription drug coverage, eliminating the need to keep track of separate prescription drug coverage details. They may also offer many extra benefits that Medicare Supplement plans and Original Medicare can’t, like fitness reimbursements, over-the-counter benefits, and expanded medical benefits including chiropractic or podiatric care.
Best of all, Medicare Advantage plans have a great track record of supporting member wellness, from ensuring that members get preventive services to reducing hospitalizations, and they may be more affordable than you think.
Website last updated: 12/12/2018