Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period 2022
Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in Medicare Advantage plans sometimes find themselves stuck in a plan that they do not like. Although the plan’s Summary of Benefits covers the specifics of how the plan works, it’s all too easy for a beneficiary to misunderstand the rules.
What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
The OEP allows beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan to make a one-time change.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
- Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, with or without a Part D drug plan
- Enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D), if you go back to Original Medicare.
The OEP does not, however, allow a beneficiary to change from one Part D plan to another.
Why is OEP so important
Medicare beneficiaries are often confused about Medicare Advantage plans. They don’t understand how these plans work or they may not realize the plan has a network. Some Medicare beneficiaries make their own plan changes without the help of a Medicare insurance agent and they overlook important factors.
- They might join a plan in which their doctors don’t participate.
- They forget to check the plan’s drug formulary to make sure it covers all of their important medications.
- They don’t realize that Advantage plans have copays and deductibles.
- They are so set on that plan’s low premium that they miss the rest of the facts. Then they have a hospital stay and get a bill for $2,000 dollars and are shocked.
Lock-in Period (ACA)
Medicare Advantage plans lock you in for a whole calendar year, thousands of beneficiaries used to get stuck in plans that they didn’t want.
This Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is not new. It used to be a regular part of each Medicare year before the ACA legislation discontinued it. It allows individuals enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan to make a one-time change early in the year.
The ACA law signed in 2010 ended the Medicare OEP and replaced it with a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment period that ran January 1st to February 14th. This period was different from the Medicare Advantage or Medicare OEP in that it only allowed enrollees to go back to Original Medicare. It did not allow them to change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
Knowing the problems that created, in 2019, Medicare beneficiaries were again able to make a one-time change from January 1st to March 31st just like they were ablte to do before the legislation changed it.
Medicare Enrollment Periods
The term Medicare enrollment period is very confusing for beneficiaries because it can be used for too many different election periods.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Most people get Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) during this period. It starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after you turn 65. If you’re not already collecting Social Security benefits before your Initial Enrollment Period starts, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare online or contact Social Security.
General Enrollment Period (GEP)
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up during General Enrollment Period (January 1–March 31), and your coverage will start July 1.
Annual Election Period (AEP)
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period – AEP for short – is a set time each year for changing your Medicare coverage choices if you choose to. AEP runs from October 15 to December 7. New coverage choices go into effect on January 1.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs).