What Is The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
If youre currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have the opportunity to comparison-shop Medicare Advantage plans for 2022 and make a change in the new year.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period begins on January 1 each year and ends on March 31. This open enrollment period replaces the old Medicare Advantage disenrollment period that ran from January 1 through February 14. The MA OEP also gives you an opportunity to switch Medicare Advantage plans.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and then find that you prefer Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, to this coverage, youll have from January 1 through March 31 of each year to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. This is called the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. You can also use this period to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for your prescription coverage, since Original Medicare prescription drug coverage is limited. You also can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another during this period.
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What Dates To Know
Written by: PeopleKeep TeamOctober 18, 2019 at 12:00 PM
Its that time of year again. Open enrollment for most states is starting soon and in some states its already begun. You may be wondering why open enrollment matters and which deadlines apply to you.
Open enrollment is important because its the only time consumers can sign up for individual health insurance without experiencing a qualifying life event. A qualifying event triggers a special enrollment period that allows individuals and their dependents to enroll in coverage up to 60 days before or after the date of the event. Those who miss open enrollment deadlines and arent eligible for an SEP must wait until the following years open enrollment to sign up for coverage.
In this post, we’ll discuss each state’s open enrollment periods as well as other information relating to QSEHRAs, ICHRAs, and alternate enrollment options.
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When Is My Enrollment Period If I Have Employer Coverage
Certain special circumstances qualify you for Special Enrollment Period .
The most common of these SEPs is when your employment changes. If you continue working past 65 with coverage that offers at least the same benefits as Original Medicare, you can delay Original Medicare enrollment without penalty.
You can opt to leave your employer-based plan at any time to enroll in Medicare. You have an eight month SEP that starts the month after your employer provided health insurance ends.
Be aware that COBRA or retiree health plans are not considered employer-based coverage and therefore will not extend your 8 month SEP. Once you leave your employer-based plan, the 8 month SEP starts.
There are two additional circumstances where you will also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period:
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment
When youre eligible to enroll in Original Medicare, you also become eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
If you want Medicare prescription drug coverage, you typically have two options:
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D standalone prescription drug plan
Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.
You can also enroll in a prescription drug plan online in as little as 10 minutes when you visit MyRxPlans.com.1
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Medicare Special Enrollment Period
Depending on your circumstances, you may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period .
Medicare Special Enrollment Periods can happen at any time during the year. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for a number of reasons, which can include:
- You moved to a new area that is outside of your current Medicare Advantage plan’s service area
- You left your employer coverage
- Medicare ended your current Medicare Advantage plan’s contract
A licensed insurance agent can help you find out if you qualify for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period.
Medicare Enrollment Periods: When To Sign Up
When to join a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
Its important for you to know when to sign up for Medicare or when to join a Medicare plan. Remember these times so you get the most out of your Medicare and avoid late enrollment penalties:
- Initial Medicare Enrollment Period: Most people get Medicare Part A and Part B during this period. It starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after you turn 65. If youre not already collecting Social Security benefits before your Initial Enrollment Period starts, youll need to sign up for Medicare online or contact Social Security.To get the most from your Medicare and avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty, complete your Medicare enrollment application during your Initial Enrollment Period. This lifetime penalty gets added to your monthly Part B premium, and it goes up the longer you wait to sign up. Find out if you should get Part B based on your situation.
- General Medicare Enrollment Period: If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up during Medicares General Enrollment Period , and your coverage will start July 1.
- Special Enrollment Period: Once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may have the chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period . You can sign up for Part A and or Part B during an SEP if you have special circumstances.
When to join a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
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Signing Up For Original Medicare
You can sign up for Medicare one of four ways:
For California residents, CA-Do Not Sell My Personal Info, .
1 10-minute claim is based solely on the time to complete the e-application if you have your Medicare card and other pertinent information available when you apply. The time to shop for plans, compare rates, and estimate drug costs is not factored into the claim. Application time could be longer. Actual time to enroll will depend on the consumer and their plan comparison needs.
MedicareAdvantage.com is a website owned and operated by TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC and TruBridge, Inc. represent Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plans having Medicare contracts enrollment in any plan depends upon contract renewal.
The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Callers will be directed to a licensed insurance agent with TZ Insurance Solutions LLC, TruBridge, Inc. and/or a third-party partner who can provide more information about Medicare Advantage Plans offered by one or several Medicare-contracted carrier. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC, TruBridge, Inc., and the licensed sales agents that may call you are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program.
Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE , 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
Changes From Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period
Those who have been on Medicare for many years may remember the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period . The MADP was replaced by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period in 2019.
The MADP previously gave beneficiaries the option to disenroll from Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare. This was previously possible between January 1 and February 14.
With the introduction of Medicare Advantage OEP, beneficiaries can switch to Original Medicare and other Medicare Advantage plans in a more extensive time window .
The change to Medicare Advantage OEP gives enrollees additional time to change and more flexibility to switch to different plans.
It is important to remember that only one change is possible during the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, so time should be taken to ensure the switch is in your best interest.
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Special Circumstances: Medicare With Als Or End
Medicare eligibility rules for people with ALS or end-stage renal disease are different. Individuals who qualify for Medicare with ALS or ESRD do not have to wait for your 25th month of disability to be eligible for Medicare.
If you qualify with ALS: You will automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin.
If you qualify with ESRD:
- For most people, Medicare coverage will start on the 1st day of the 4th month of dialysis treatment.
- If you have an employer group health plan, Medicare will begin on the fourth month of dialysis.
- Treatments if you have employer coverage.
- If you participate in an at-home dialysis training program, your coverage may begin the first month of a regular course of dialysis provided the following are true:
- You participated in training from a Medicare-approved training facility for the first three months of your regular dialysis
- Your doctor expects you to finish training and be able to do your dialysis treatments yourself
Note, according to Medicare in order to qualify with ESRD all of the below must apply:
For further information related to ALS and Medicare, visit www.als.org.
For further information related to ESRD and Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov.
What Is The Annual Enrollment Period
The Medicare Annual Election Period lasts from every year.
From October 15 to December 7, 2019, Medicare beneficiaries may be able to make changes to their coverage that will take effect on January 1, 2020.
During the Annual Election Period, you can:
Switch Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans
Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
Drop your Medicare drug coverage entirely
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, this may be one of the only times of the year that you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.
Depending on your circumstances, you could potentially qualify for a Special Enrollment Period during other times of the year.
If you have Medicare Supplement Insurance , you dont need to do anything during the 2020 Annual Election Period.
You may be able to make changes to your Medigap coverage at any time during the year, though the best time to join a Medigap plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period . Well explain more about that below.
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Other Exceptional Circumstances Including Natural Disasters
Exceptional circumstances can be personal for example, a house fire or a serious medical condition that made it impossible for you to enroll but they also include natural disasters that impact a large number of people. They can also be triggered by political or regulatory changes. As noted above, for example, California issued a special enrollment period in August 2021 for people living in areas where a wildfire-related state of emergency has been declared.
If exceptional circumstances occur during open enrollment , and you can demonstrate to the exchange that the circumstances prevented you from enrolling by the end of open enrollment, the exchange can grant you a special enrollment period. This also applies if the exceptional circumstance happened before or during another special enrollment period for which you were eligible, and it essentially extends your special enrollment period.
HHS issued guidance in 2018 explaining how special enrollment periods work via HealthCare.gov in areas where FEMA declares a disaster that allows a county to apply for individual assistance or public assistance as a result of the disaster.
The special enrollment period continues for 60 days after the FEMA disaster incident period ends, and applicants can select an effective date in the future or the effective date they would have had if theyd enrolled during the open enrollment period .
367-6947 to discuss your situation with a licensed insurance professional.)
Why Are Longer Health Insurance Open Enrollment Periods Better
Open enrollment is your best chance to:
- Get a different insurance company, or
- Change your health insurance network type.
A great deal of flexibility disappears with a six-week open enrollment period. Smaller advertising budgets mean that there wont be a whole lot of warning for consumers before open enrollment begins. The federal government has even decided to end nonprofit programs that let people know about open enrollment and help them sign up for insurance.
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Medicare Open Enrollment Options 2022
Medicare Open Enrollment Period 2022, also known as the Medicare OEP 2022, runs between October 15th, 2021, and December 7th, 2021. During this period, individuals who qualify for Medicare can renew or change Medicare policies.
For instance, if you have an Original Medicare plan but want to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do so during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Should you miss your Initial Enrollment Period and the Open Enrollment Period, you might have to pay a small penalty fee to obtain Medicare coverage.
And This Year Isnt Just Shorter
Several other changes were made over the past few years that will magnify the impact of a shorter health insurance Open Enrollment Period.
No More Individual Mandate: The tax penalty for going without health insurance no longer exists starting in 2019. This will remove one incentive to get health insurance in a timely manner, as stragglers can now rely on short-term insurance plans to fill coverage gaps instead. To date, only 4 states have added a local individual mandate.
Stricter Special Enrollment Requirements: Previously, the federal government would take your word for it if you tried to join a plan outside of open enrollment due to a special circumstance. As of this year, there are strict verification standards that involve sending the documents in a short period of time.
Removal of Non-Payment Loophole: Some consumers had also learned to stop paying their premiums in the months leading up to open enrollment. They bet that it would take a while for their coverage to be canceled, or even decided to lose coverage since they no longer needed it. This five-finger discount loophole was closed for 2018. Now, youll only be able to switch to new coverage if your old coverage is paid in full. Consumers especially those who are behind on payments by accident may not be able to learn about the issue, reconcile their bills, and sign up in time.
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Medicare Open Enrollment Period Kicks Off Today
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is reminding people with Medicare that Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15, 2021, and now is the time to review their coverage options and make a choice that meets their health care needs. Medicares Open Enrollment period gives those who rely on Medicare the opportunity to make changes to their health plans or prescription drug plans, pick a Medicare Advantage Plan, or return to Original Medicare.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period occurs every year from October 15 through December 7, with coverage changes taking effect January 1. During this time, people can find a plan that better meets their needs, saves money, or both.
This is an important time of year for 63 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country to compare coverage options to ensure they are getting the best benefits available at low cost, said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. We will continue to strengthen and build upon this critical program that has vastly improved the lives of our seniors. I encourage everyone to take stock of their health and find the best plan for them in 2022.
Here are some things to consider when shopping for Medicare coverage:
Medicare is Here to Help
Here are four ways you can compare plans and look at savings options:
Medicare 2020 And 2021 Enrollment Dates: Key Takeaways
- The plan-year 2020 Medicare open enrollment period has ended. The next open enrollment period will run from October 15, 2020 to December 7, 2020, for coverage effective in 2021.
If youre enrolling in Medicare for the first time, theres a fairly straightforward process and timeline
But beyond that first opportunity to enroll in Medicare plans, the federal government provides other windows for enrollment: annual opportunities to enroll if youve delayed your enrollment for some reason, or to change your coverage if youve already enrolled.
Heres a quick guide to the times when you can enroll in or change Medicare coverage during the course of the year.
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Is Aep Available To Everyone
Anyone can make important changes to their Medicare coverage each year during the Annual Election Period.
You dont have to change anything during AEP. However, experts urge people to closely compare your plan to other local options during this annual window. Studies show that more than half the people who shop around, even for an hour or two, find better coverage and often save money, too.
Medicare Open Enrollment Faqs
This list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Medicare Open Enrollment period covers a range of topics related to enrollment, including Medicare Advantage, Part D, Medigap, and more.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270
www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/kff
Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.
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