Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period

Every fall, Medicare recipients can take part in the Medicare Open Enrollment period. It can get a little confusing, so we are going to run through a basic overview to get you prepared.

When Is Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 Plans?

The AEP for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans is October 15th through December 7th. The plan changes you make take effect January 1st of 2018.

What is the Annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), during the Open Enrollment period, you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage. You can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan. 
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare. 
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan. 
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage. 
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely. 

Wait, what's Medicare Advantage again?

A Medicare Advantage plan (also called Medicare Part C) is a plan offered by a private insurance company. These companies contract with Medicare to offer all of your Part A and Part B benefits. Each plan must include everything covered by traditional Medicare, but may offer more benefits and/or lower copays.  These plans include HMOs, PPOs, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare MSA Plans. Most of these plans also offer prescription drug coverage.

Our partners at Tyrone Carr & Associates explain all of the plan types here:

What happens if I miss the AEP?

If you miss the AEP, you can leave your Medicare Advantage Plan during the disenrollment period - between January 1 and February 14 each year. During this time period, you can leave your plan and return to original Medicare. You cannot switch to another Advantage plan unless you have a circumstance that affords you a Special Enrollment Period.

After you leave your plan, you will have until February 14 to enroll in a Part D plan that will begin the first day of the following month that you enroll.

Next Steps

Appointments fill up fast during the AEP. Click Get Started below to speak with a specialist!