By Christina Finkle
A nice change to the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period in 2019. The Medicare Disenrollment Period that used to occur from Jan. 1st – Feb. 14th will be replaced with a new Open Enrollment Period.
Medicare OEP is a period from January 1st – March 31st where beneficiaries of a Medicare Advantage plan can now make one change to a different Advantage plan.
Since Medicare Advantage plans lock you in for a whole year, many beneficiaries get stuck in plans that they ultimately do not like.
The reason for the change is that Medicare advantage plans can often be confusing. Some beneficiaries may not know how these plans work, how to find out if their doctor is in a particular plans network or even if their drugs are on the formulary. It is also common for beneficiaries to misunderstand the copays associated with a particular plan, or were not aware of new options available in their area, or they have let their current plan flip without understanding the changes that have occurred.
Be aware, OEP is only for those currently in a Medicare Advantage plan. The OEP does not allow for an opportunity for an individual enrolled in Original Medicare to join an MA plan. It also does not allow for Part D changes for those enrolled in Original Medicare with a standalone Part D plan, or those enrolled in Medicare Savings Accounts or PACE plans.
As always, it is very important to review your current plan as well as any plan you are considering closely.