The 2019 Annual Election Period for Medicare (commonly called Open Enrollment (OEP)) begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th.
Open Enrollment 2019
Open Enrollment is your chance to enroll in or change your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and Part D coverage.
Drug coverage lists change from year to year, so this is the perfect time to check that you’re on the best plan for you. Your Medicare Advantage plan may also change coverage of specific medical services, grow or shrink its doctor and facility network, or change added benefits like vision, dental, and hearing. This is the time to switch.
Medicare Open Enrollment 2019: The Timing
The Open Enrollment period for Medicare in 2019 is October 15 to December 7. As always, plan changes take effect on January 1st.
What About Open Enrollment For Medigap?
There is no open enrollment period for Medigap. You can move to a new Medigap plan during the Open Enrollment period, but it will require you to answer medical questions. You’ll also need to answer questions if you choose to move from Medicare Advantage to Medigap. There are exceptions if you qualify for special enrollment.
Questions notwithstanding, Open Enrollment is the best time to make the move from MA to Medigap. Dropping Medicare Advantage will allow you to smoothly transition to Medigap coverage starting on January 1st. If you’d like our help with the process, call us at 800-717-2183.
What If I Want To Change My Drug Or MA Coverage Outside Of Open Enrollment?
You can only make changes outside of Open Enrollment under special circumstances. You can always switch if you were misled regarding your plan’s coverage or if you move to an area not covered by your current plan. Qualifying for Medicare’s 5-star rule also allows you to switch at any time. How it works: If your current plan is not rated at 5 stars but you find a 5-star plan that’s open to you, you can switch to it immediately. If you’d like help finding a 5-star plan, our licensed insurance agents are standing by at 800-717-2183.
New Features In 2019
Medicare will launch an Open Enrollment Period on January 1st, 2019. During this period, all Medicare beneficiaries can make “like plan” adjustments up to March 31st, 2019. This is not an extension of AEP. AEP dates remain unchanged: October 15th to December 7th.
During the new OEP, clients can drop their current plan and switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan. This can only be done once per beneficiary. Clients can also opt out of an advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. They would also purchase a PDP and or a supplement at that time.
Enrollment in a new PDP plan is only allowed when beneficiaries are already coming off a MAPD which included drug coverage. Plans will take effect on the first of the month following the client’s signing date.
This is a summary of the different changes which are allowed:
* MAPD to MAPD
* Original Medicare + Part D to MAPD
* MAPD to Original Medicare + Part D
* MA Only to MA Only
* MA Only to Original Medicare
* Original Medicare to MA Only
For some beneficiaries, this is a great opportunity. For others, it is a bother. Whether or not you’re looking forward to making a change, a little advance preparation will make it easy to find your way through the new OEP.
If you’d like more information or want to get set up with our Medicare Advantage and Part D partners, please don’t hesitate to call us.
We’re happy to help!