The upcoming year, 2019, is a huge year for Medicare beneficiaries. There will be many changes, and most of them are beneficial. In 2010, lawmakers originally did away with the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. However, the 21st Century Cures Act means that now they are bringing it back, starting January 1st
It can be confusing to exactly understand the Open Enrollment Period since many different types of enrollment periods are called “Open Enrollment Period.” This timeframe for Open Enrollment Period will begin on January 1st and continue through the last day of March – on March 31st.
During this time period, beneficiaries get a one-time opportunity to change from Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan. You could also disenroll for the Medicare Advantage program altogether and switch to Traditional Medicare.
“Open Enrollment Period” Confusion
Every Medicare beneficiary has heard the term “Open Enrollment Period” before, especially if they’ve been on Medicare for a while. Well, for those that get confused easily, this is for you:
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period
Medigap Plans Open Enrollment Period is for beneficiaries that just turned 65 or are new to Medicare. This session of Open Enrollment Period lasts for 6 months and begins on the first day of the month that you BOTH turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
For example, if you turn 65 on April 8, and then you join Medicare Part B on May 19. Your Medicare Supplement Enrollment will start on June 1, which is the first day of the month in which you will be both 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
The returning Open Enrollment Period is for Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries that either wish to change MA plans or return to Original Medicare.
Inaccurately called “Open Enrollment Period.”
Medicare can be complicated, especially with all the different enrollment periods. It’s important for California state residents to understand all types of enrollment periods.
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is from October 15 through December 7, this enrollment period has been inaccurately called the Open Enrollment Period.
When Medicare beneficiaries turn 65, they become eligible for the Initial Enrollment Period, this gives beneficiaries 7 months to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan. This enrollment period is commonly mistaken for an Open Enrollment Period, it could possibly be getting mixed up with the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
The Open Enrollment Period Explained
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period will replace the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that was from January 1 until February 14 of every year.
The MADP was an opportunity to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan, then return to Original Medicare. The option to enroll in another plan wasn’t available to Medicare recipients during this time.
Now, things are changing for beneficiaries for the better. The new Medicare changes of 2019 will make changing from the unsuitable Medicare Advantage plan to a more suitable plan, possible.
Medicare-eligible beneficiaries that are also enrolled in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan need to make changes to their Part D Prescription Drug plan during AEP (October 15 through December 7 of every year).
Each year by September 30th, recipients of Medicare Advantage will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and also receive Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing insurance carrier for their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription drug plan providers.
When beneficiaries receive this information, it’s their responsibility to note changes and adjust their coverage if needed.