Changes to Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment

Did you know that the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for Medicare Advantage Plans has changed? The new plan will run from January 1 through March 31 and will allow those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) or a Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drugs plan (MAPD) to make an election to go to another MA plan or to leave their MA plan and return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B. You can also elect to join a stand-alone Medicare Part D (prescription) plan when you return to Original Medicare.

This new Open Enrollment Period is more limited than the Annual Election Period (AEP) that runs every year from October 15 through December 7 (also known as the Fall Open Enrollment Period). See note below.

Why would I want to use this new Open Enrollment Period and change my current plan?

Some of the extra benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan can change from year to year. For example, suppose you take certain medications and you have a Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug plan. Your plan might cover your prescriptions now, but sometimes a plan changes its formulary (list of covered medications). You may benefit by changing to a plan that covers your medication – and you can make the change in January through March if the Fall Open Enrollment Period has passed.

Why would I want to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan?

If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan to return to Original Medicare, you might want to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Your Medicare Advantage plan most likely included prescription drug coverage, but Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) does not. The new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period described above lets you do this.

Note: this new Open Enrollment Period does not provide an opportunity for an individual enrolled in Original Medicare to join a Medicare Advantage plan. It also does not allow for Part D changes for individuals enrolled in Original Medicare, including those enrolled in stand-alone Part D plans. It is also not available for those enrolled in Medicare Savings Accounts or other Medicare health plan types (such as cost plans or PACE).

Still have questions? Please contact us – we will be happy to talk to you.

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