The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is different than the annual election period in the fall. The MA OEP happens annually from January 1st to March 31st. The OEP allows beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan to make a one-time change. Beneficiaries can use the Medicare OEP to:
- Change their plan from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan tat may better suit them
- Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan altogether and return to Original Medicare, with or without a Part D drug plan
The Medicare OEP does not allow a beneficiary to change from one Part D plan to another Part D plan.
The reason for the OEP is that Medicare beneficiaries are often confused about Medicare Advantage plans. They don’t understand how these plans work or they may not realize the plan has a network. Some Medicare beneficiaries try to make their own plan changes without the help of a Medicare health insurance expert. Therefore they often don’t know what they are getting into. They miss important details. They might unknowingly join a plan that one of their doctors doesn’t participate in. Some might also forget to check the plan’s drug formulary to make sure it covers all of their important medications. Before the MAOEP started beneficiaries were stuck in a plan that did not work for them for the entire calendar year
It’s also common for a beneficiary to not realize that Advantage plans require copays on the back end. They are so focused on that plan’s low premium that they miss the rest of the facts about how the plan works. Then they have a medical claim or hospital stay and get an unexpected bill for $1,000 dollars and are shocked.
Have questions about Medicare health insurance plans and the MAOEP? Contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121.