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How to Choose the Right Plan During The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Jan 26, 2022

Updated December 6, 2023.

If you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan, you can explore your options and make a final change to your plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). In this blog post, we’ll explain what MA OEP is, how to choose a plan and doctor that’s right for you, and exactly how to switch.

When can I change my Medicare Advantage plan?

Each year, people on Medicare have two opportunities to change their plans.

The first, known as the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), runs annually from October 15 – December 7. During AEP, anyone on Medicare can make changes to their plans. Any changes can be made and your coverage choices go into effect on January 1.

After AEP, there’s a second chance – for people enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan only – to make one final change to their plan. This period, known as the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP), runs annually from January 1 - March 31.

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What do I need to know about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)?

During MA OEP, anyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan has the ability to:

  • Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Drop their Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

During this time, policyholders of Medicare Advantage plans are able to make ONE switch to their policy. The chosen coverage goes into effect on the first day of the next month from when the change was made. For example, if you switch Medicare Advantage plans in February, the new coverage becomes effective March 1.

MA OEP is the best time to re-evaluate Medicare Advantage plan options if you’re thinking about switching to a plan better suited to your needs.

How do I choose a plan or doctor that is right for me?

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If you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan or your doctor, you can make a final change to your plan between January 1 to March 31 during MA OEP. Your individual circumstances and preferences should guide your decision.

Ultimately, you should make sure your plan fits your budget, covers your prescriptions, and gives you access to the right care.

Here are some possible reasons you might want to switch plans during MA OEP:

  • You want to switch from a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) to a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).
  • You’re getting an expensive medical treatment and you want to reduce out-of-pocket costs by choosing a plan with a lower out-of-pocket maximum limit.
  • You’ll need extensive dental services in the coming year and you want a plan with better dental benefits.
  • Many medical services are not anticipated, so you only want basic coverage with the lowest premiums possible.
  • You started taking an expensive prescription drug and you want to pay a lower copayment for prescription drugs.
  • You lost access to your primary care provider and/or specialists when you switched plans in the fall, and you’d like to resume your care.
  • You are unsatisfied for any other reason with your plan and want to revert back to your old plan or try something new.

Finding the right doctor or plan can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to find senior care physicians that are right for you or your loved one.

How to switch your Medicare Advantage plan

We recommend talking to an insurance representative or agent to help choose the plan that best suits your needs based on your location, age, life stage, health conditions, budget, values, and desires.

To learn more about insurance, check out our blog post on Medicare Advantage and our Medicare & Insurance 101 page. We hope these resources will help you have a productive conversation with your representative or agent.

One Medical Seniors recommends agents our patients know and trust. We would be happy to refer you to someone if you have insurance questions. If you are interested in learning more or attending an educational seminar, contact us and we’ll give you a call.

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