Each year, you have two opportunities to change Medicare Advantage plans. If you are unhappy with the plan you selected in the Fall, you can change your Medicare Advantage plan during Open Enrollment Period (OEP), January 1 — March 31. Need help? Iora Primary Care can take you through the process.
AEP vs. OEP — When Can I Change My Medicare Advantage Plan?
Each year, those on Medicare have two opportunities to change their plans. The first, known as the Annual Election Period (AEP), runs annually from October 15 — December 7, and is a time for anyone on Medicare to make changes to their plans. During this time, you can make as many changes as you want, and your last coverage choices go into effect January 1.
Yet what if you’re not pleased with your plan come January? For those with Medicare Advantage plans, there remains a second opportunity to make an additional change, known as Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)?
Each year, if you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have one additional opportunity to make certain changes to your plan during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP), running from January 1 to March 31.
During the MA OEP:
- You can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan.
- You can drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare.
- You can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
During this time, if you are a policyholder of a Medicare Advantage plan, you are able to make ONE switch to your policy, and your chosen coverage goes into effect on the first day of the next month from when you make the change. For example, if you switch Medicare Advantage plans in February, then your new coverage becomes effective March 1.
How Do I Choose A Plan or Doctor That Is Right For Me?
If you are unhappy with your plan or your doctor, you can change your Medicare Advantage plan during OEP, which runs from January 1 to March 31. Your individual circumstances and preferences will guide you in your decision. There are many possible reasons why you might want to choose a different plan. For example:
- You currently have an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), but you would rather have a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization).
- You will be getting an expensive medical treatment and you want to lower your out-of-pocket costs by choosing a plan with a lower out-of-pocket maximum limit.
- You will be spending a lot on dental services in the coming year and you want a plan with more comprehensive dental benefits.
- You tend not to use many medical services so you want only basic coverage, with the lowest premiums possible.
- You are taking an expensive prescription drug and you want to pay a lower copayment for prescription drugs.
Finding the right doctor or plan can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to find senior care physicians that are right for you or your loved one.
How to Switch Your Medicare Advantage Plan
If you are thinking about switching to a plan better suited to your needs, the annual Open Enrollment Period is the best time to re-evaluate Medicare Advantage plan options.
There are many different plans to choose from, which is why we recommend sitting down with an insurance representative or agent to help choose the plan that best suits your lifestyle. To learn more about insurance information, visit our Live Better Blog to understand the different parts of Medicare and what Medicare Advantage plans are.
At Iora, we can recommend agents that our patients know and trust. We would be happy to refer you to someone if you have insurance questions, and if you are interested in learning more or attending an educational seminar, reach out and we’ll give you a call.