Medicare’s Annual Enrollment vs. Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment
The Medicare Annual Election Period, also called Annual Enrollment, just ended on December 7. But if you have concerns about your plan, you might be able to make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31.
But you might be wondering, “What is the difference between the two enrollment periods? And is one better for me than the other?”
That depends on your particular circumstances and what you need or want to accomplish. Let’s discuss the differences between these two enrollment windows, so that you understand which one best serves your purpose.
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, from October 14 to December 7, anyone with a Medicare plan can make changes to that plan. You can drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare, switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or swap out one Advantage plan for another. This is the time to make big changes, and there are only a few restrictions on what you can do.
On the other hand, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period only applies to those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. You can switch from one Advantage plan to another, or drop the plan and go back to Original Medicare. If you do return to Original Medicare you can also add a Part D (prescription) plan. But this enrollment period is strictly reserved for those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you’re on Original Medicare, your time to make changes expired with the Annual Enrollment Period on December 7.
Generally speaking, it’s best to evaluate your plan and make changes during the Annual Enrollment Period each fall. But just in case you change your mind about something, and you’re enrolled in an Advantage plan, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period does allow you to make changes from January through March.
To evaluate your options and learn more about your potential opportunities, call one of our Medicare specialists. Help is always free, and we can help you sort through your Medicare coverage options.