The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA-OEP) runs from January 1st through March 31st. During the MA-OEP, you are allowed to drop your Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD or MA
), return to original Medicare Part A and Part B, and join a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).
As noted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the OEP will allow people,
"enrolled in an MA plan, including newly MA-eligible individuals, to make a one-time election to go to another [Medicare Advantage] plan - or to leave their Medicare Advantage plan, join a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan, and return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B."
"For example, an individual enrolled in an MA-PD plan may use the MA-OEP to switch to:
(1) another MA-PD plan;
(2) an MA-only plan; or
(3) Original Medicare [Part A and Part B] with or without a [stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan] PDP.
The MA-OEP will also allow an individual enrolled in an MA-only plan to switch to:
(1) another MA-only plan;
(2) an MA-PD plan; or
(3) Original Medicare with or without a PDP."
"However, this enrollment period does not allow for [Medicare] Part D [PDP] changes for individuals enrolled in Original Medicare, including those with enrollment in stand-alone PDPs."
Reminder about the timing of your enrollment or dis-enrollment during the MA-OEP
When you disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan, the dis-enrollment begins the first day of the next month after dis-enrollment. So, if you disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan on February 10th, your Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage begins on March 1st. You can also join a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at the same time and your new prescription drug plan will also start on March 1st. Reminder about your Social Security check premium deductions
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will probably need a little time adjusting your Social Security check deductions if you decide to use the MA-OEP. So, if you dropped (or changed) your Medicare Advantage plan in January during the MA-OEP and joined another Medicare Advantage plan or a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan (PDP), you may still see payments for your old Medicare Advantage plan deducted in February and maybe even March, then in April, any over-payments (or under-payments) from the February and March Medicare Advantage plan premiums will be reversed and the February and March premium payments for your newly chosen Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan deducted from your Social Security check.
Historical note: More about the old MADP (now replaced by the MA-OEP)
Before 2019, you could drop your Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD) during the annual Medicare Advantage plan Disenrollment Period (or MADP) that ran from January 1st until February 14th of each year.
The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period allowed you the opportunity
to leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return back to your Original
Medicare Part A
and Part B
coverage – plus you were allowed to join a
stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (or PDP
Similar to the MA-OEP, during the 2018 MADP, you still were allowed to drop the Medicare Advantage plan, return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B and join a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) - even if you had a Medicare Advantage plan that did not provide
prescription drug coverage (MA).
So during the MADP, if you were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plan “XYZ”, you could
disenroll from XYZ, go back to your Original Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B,
and still join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan of your choice
(even when your Medicare Advantage plan did not provide prescription
- Unlike the current MA-OEP - the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) could only be used to drop or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and could not be used to change to another Medicare Advantage plan.
- Also during the MADP, if you were enrolled in both a Medicare Advantage plan (MA such as a PFFS plan) and a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan (PDP) - you could disenroll from the MA plan, but could not make a change to your current stand-alone PDP.
- As with the MA-OEP, during the MADP, if you were enrolled in a stand-alone PDP, but not enrolled in an MA plan, you could not make any change to your current PDP plan or choose to enroll in an MA plan during the MADP unless you could use a Special Enrollment Period.
- Again, a key difference between the current MA-OEP and the 2018 MADP, is that during the MADP, if you were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you were not be allowed to change (but, only drop) Medicare Advantage plans after the close of the Annual or Open Enrollment Period that ends on December 7th – unless you were granted a Special Enrollment Period. You can click here for more on the Special Enrollment Periods.
- As is true with the MA-OEP, during the MADP, people who left a Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD) may have chosen to enroll in a Medicare Supplement or Medigap policy providing the person qualified under the terms of the Medicare Supplement policy they wished to purchase.
Please note: As noted in more detail below, if a person used the MADP to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan, they may not have had a Guaranteed Issue right to join a Medicare Supplement (meaning that they may be rejected or subject to medical underwriting with pre-existing condition exclusions) - Guaranteed Issue rights will vary between states.
Reminder about: The Medicare Supplement Trial Right
If you joined a Medicare Advantage plan or Programs of All‑inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A at age 65, and within the first year of joining, you decide you want to switch to Original Medicare - you will have a you have a guaranteed issue right to join any Medicare Supplement that is available in your state.
. . . and the Trial Right (Part II)
You have a Medicare Supplement guaranteed issue right if... You dropped a
Medigap policy to join a Medicare Advantage Plan (or to switch to a Medicare
SELECT policy) for the first time, you have been in the Medicare Advantage plan less than a year,
and you want to switch back to your Medicare Supplement (or Medigap plan). You have the right to buy the Medigap policy you had
before you joined the Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare SELECT policy, if the
same insurance company you had before still sells it. (If your former Medigap
policy is not available, you can buy Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L that’s
sold in your state by any insurance company.)