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When is Medicare Open Enrollment?

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Whether you call it Medicare Open Enrollment, the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), or even the “Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage” – here’s what this open enrollment period is about.

“Medicare Open Enrollment” (the AEP) can involve any of these:

  • Medicare Advantage plans
  • Stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
  • Traditional Medicare (Part A and Part B)

When does Medicare Open Enrollment happen?

The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) or Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 through December 7 every year.

Medicare Open Enrollment: what changes can I make?

During “Medicare Open Enrollment” (the Medicare Annual Election Period, or AEP) you can generally select different Medicare coverage options. You can:

  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan, and return to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)
  • Change from one stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan to another
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan
  • Drop your stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan

During Medicare open enrollment, you might be able to make other Medicare coverage changes as well.

What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period?

There’s a new Medicare open enrollment period that has some specific rules. The Medicare Open Enrollment period started in 2019, and it goes from January 1 through March 31 each year.

During Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment, you can generally:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. If you do this, you can also enroll in a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan during this Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period.

The Medicare Advantage open enrollment period usually does not let you:

  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan unless you just dropped your Medicare Advantage plan during this same period.
  • Switch from one stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan to another
  • Sign up for Medicare Advantage for the first time

What’s the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

A new Medicare Advantage open enrollment period, starting in 2019, can help you make limited changes. For example, you can usually change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. But you typically can’t enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time during this period. See New Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage for details.

If you want to make some coverage changes during one of these “Medicare open enrollment” periods – or if you just want to take a look and see how other Medicare Advantage plans compare to yours – just type in your zip code in the box on this page to begin.

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