Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
Medicare Enrollment Periods can be very confusing. We have already discussed the Initial, Special, and General Enrollment Periods. To recap, the Initial and Special Enrollment Periods are what everyone should use for the initial transition to Medicare. The General Enrollment Period is for those who neglected to enroll in Medicare Part B according to the government’s rules during their Initial Enrollment Period or Special Enrollment Period, if applicable. We are in the General Enrollment Period now because it is the first quarter of every year so don’t miss it if you need to enroll in Part B.
We have also discussed Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period which is for those already on Medicare who want to make a change. The Annual Open Enrollment Period ended in December and won’t begin again until October 15, 2022. But – readers should know that there is also a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period which is also from January 1 through March 31, 2022 (so it overlaps but has nothing to do with Medicare’s General Enrollment Period). During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period one can:
- Change from one Advantage Plan to another Advantage Plan
- Disenroll from an Advantage Plan and return to original Medicare and a separate Part D (drug) Plan
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period one cannot choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan from original Medicare. Anyone interested in doing that would have to wait until the next Annual Open Enrollment Period which begins October 15, 2022 and ends on December 7, 2022 for a January 1, 2023 effective date.
While preparing for this video, I was reading sections of the medicare.gov site and stumbled onto the section on Special Circumstances Special Enrollment Periods. The site had language that surprised me regarding one’s ability to change Advantage Plans after the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period ends:
- If you believe you made the wrong plan choice because of inaccurate or misleading information, including using Plan Finder, call 1-800-MEDICARE and explain your situation. Call center representatives can help you throughout the year with options for making changes.
In our view, many of the ads that air on television regarding Medicare Advantage Plans are misleading, so this language opens the door for discussing one’s options with the Medicare call center representatives throughout the year.
Nevertheless, if you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage decision and want to consider changing to another Plan or returning to original Medicare, we urge you to consider that now and decide sooner rather than later and certainly before March 31st. It is especially important for those who want to return to original Medicare because of the enrollment rules relating to Medicare supplements. If within the last 12 months you gave up a Medicare supplement to enroll in an Advantage Plan and have buyer’s remorse and disenroll from the Advantage Plan, you have a guaranteed right to return to the Medicare supplement you were enrolled in during the prior year. After this 12-month window, you would be subject to medical underwriting to purchase a supplement in most states.
In summary, if you are unhappy with your current Advantage Plan enrollment, please become familiar with what you can and can’t do during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
Many of our videos have more universal interest. After all, even those who are not yet on Medicare might want to learn about Medicare for a variety of reasons. However, there is no reason to watch today’s video unless you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or want to learn more about Medicare Advantage Enrollment periods.