When can I make changes to my Medicare insurance plan?

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Each year, you should reevaluate the Medicare plan you are currently enrolled in. As the years go by, your health and financial matters could change, and the plan you are with may not meet all of your needs like it used to. 

So when exactly can you make those changes?

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP), also known as the Annual Election Period, you can make changes to your Medicare insurance plan from October 15 to December 7. During this period, you have the option to:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
  • Switch Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Switch, join, or drop a prescription drug plan

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) offers the opportunity to reevaluate your current Medicare Advantage Plan. This opportunity is the annual MA OEP that lasts from January 1 to March 31 and allows you to change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan, or switch to Original Medicare and a standalone prescription drug plan.

Special Election Period (SEP)

The Special Election Period will allow you to enroll in a different Medicare plan, but only under certain circumstances. For example, if you lost your current health insurance or moved out of your Medicare plan’s service area, you would have a two-month enrollment period where you could switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan, Part D prescription drug plan, or return to Original Medicare, all without penalty. Depending on when you notify Medicare about your coverage situation, the two-month period can happen before the event occurs, or after it happens.

What about the 5-Star Special Enrollment Period?

Medicare rates plans based on member satisfaction surveys to observe the overall performance of the plan. The plan is rated between 1 and 5 stars, with 5 stars being the highest rating. With the 5-Star Special Enrollment Period, you can switch to a 5-star rated Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Cost Plan, or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. This can only be done once from December 8 through November 30.

However, it’s important to note Medicare changes these ratings every year, so this can impact which plan you sign up for.

To be eligible for the 5-Star Special Enrollment Period, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B
  • Be enrolled in Part B if you are wanting to switch to a Medicare Cost Plan
  • Live within the service area of the plan you want to switch to

Have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the Medicare Enrollment Periods, we welcome you to give us a call at 877-877-5505 or send us a message through our online form and one of our helpful licensed Medicare insurance agents will get back with you.

Justin Brock

Justin Brock

The CEO and President of Bobby Brock Insurance. A nationally syndicated Medicare advisor, best-selling author of Medicare Breakdown: The Alphabet Soup of Medicare, and pacesetter for over 20,000 senior market insurance agents. Featured in many insurance-related publications for his Medicare and Health insurance... Read More »

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