Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

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Understanding the Open Enrollment Period

NEW: Medicare Open Enrollment 2019

Previously, most people could not make any changes to their Medicare coverage except for during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 through December 7. Starting in 2019, there will be a new “Medicare Open Enrollment Period.”

When is Open Enrollment for Medicare (OEP)?

Medicare Open Enrollment 2019 will run from January 1 through March 31. During this time, you can switch between:

  • One Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • A Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare with Part D prescription drug coverage
  • Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare only, with the option to add a prescription drug plan.

You cannot make more than one change during OEP. If you make a change, it will become effective on the first of the month after your request is accepted.

Note that OEP does not allow you to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, switch between prescription drug plans, or join a prescription drug plan for the first time. Those are changes you’ll have to wait for AEP to make.

What is OEP for?

OEP was created for anyone who signs up for a Medicare Advantage plan during AEP to enroll in a different plan, without having to wait until the following fall. You do not have to do anything during OEP unless you are unhappy with the coverage you enrolled in during AEP.

For information about other enrollment periods, click on the “Medicare” tab above, and look under “Enrollment Periods.”

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