If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) is when you can enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare. However, you can only make 1 change within the period and other rules apply as well.

Let’s explore the details of the MA OEP and how it’s different from Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment, or the Annual Election Period (AEP).

How the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period works

The MA OEP is one opportunity throughout the year to change your Medicare Advantage plan. Here are some important facts:

  • Enrollment dates: Jan. 1 – March 31
  • Who can participate: People already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of January 1
  • What changes you can make:
    • Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, with or without drug coverage
    • Switch back to Original Medicare, and if needed, add a Medicare Part D plan
  • How many changes allowed per period: 1
  • When changes take effect: The first of the following month following receipt of the enrollment request

How the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is different from the Medicare Annual Election Period

The AEP is different in several ways. First, it occurs in the fall, between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, for coverage beginning Jan. 1. Second, anyone eligible for Medicare can participate. Third, you can make as many changes to your plan and coverage as you wish before Dec. 7.

Choose what’s best for you

The MA OEP is an opportunity to change your coverage and choose the right plan for you. If you’re considering switching back to Original Medicare, check out this helpful side-by-side comparison of Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

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