Medicare beneficiaries are offered different opportunities to examine their Medicare plans and make necessary changes… But these opportunities can be confusing at times. Depending upon your plan participation, you will hear about Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Each of these events occur annually, and serve similar but somewhat different purposes for beneficiaries.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. From October 15 to December 7 each year, you will have the opportunity to review any upcoming alterations to your plan. You should receive notice of changes to drug formularies, premiums, coverage, and so on. And, if necessary or desired, you can respond by making the following changes:
- Drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare
- Move from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Make changes to Part D enrollment, such as enrolling for the first time, dropping coverage, or changing plans
Changes that you make during this time will take effect for the following plan year, on January 1. Those who don’t make changes will simply be re-enrolled into their current plan selections.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan also have the opportunity to make changes, during the OEP which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year.
During this time, Medicare Advantage participants can:
- Drop your Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
- Switch from one Advantage plan to another
- Add, drop, or change your Part D plan, if you’re enrolled in a separate plan (many Advantage plans include Part D coverage automatically)
The OEP only applies to Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in an Advantage plan on January 1, and only one change can be made during this time. Any changes made will become permanent for the duration of the plan year.
With January 1 rapidly approaching, we urge you to contact us if you have questions about your Medicare Advantage plan. We can help you assess your options and make changes during the OEP, if necessary.