How Does The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period Work?
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is a time each year when you can make a single change to your existing Medicare Advantage plan, such as one of the following:
- Move to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
- Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and stay with Original Medicare. If you do this and need drug coverage, you have until March 31 to add a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan.
Remember, you need to be enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) before you’re eligible to sign up for any Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan.
If you do not yet have Original Medicare, check out your Medicare enrollment options so you know when and how to sign up. If you’re turning 65 soon, it’s smart to start researching your coverage options now.
Why Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan?
If you are new to Medicare, you might be wondering what a Medicare Advantage plan is and how you can sign up. These plans are a great option if you need coverage beyond what Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) offers.
For example, you might want dental, vision, and hearing insurance. Or maybe you have regular medications and need prescription drug coverage, which you can’t receive through Original Medicare. Knowing how the two options compare helps you benefit the most from your coverage.
What Is The Difference Between The Medicare Open Enrollment Period And The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
This Medicare Annual Enrollment Period allows anyone who has Medicare to make changes to their coverage and runs October 15 through December 7 each year. Meanwhile, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1 to March 31) is for those who currently have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to make a change to it.
What Are Other Medicare Advantage Enrollment Periods?
After you sign up for Original Medicare, there will be times when you can add, change, or drop a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan.
If you are moving or your plan’s service area changes, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) intended for these types of exceptions (and others). Our Medicare Advantage enrollment page offers more details about all sign-up periods, including the SEP.
Medicare can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out our Medicare information section for details on enrollment, costs, options, and coverage comparisons.