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What can I do during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

Information provided by Scott Gidley and used with permission of United Healthcare.

Do you have a Medicare Advantage plan? If you do, then you need to know about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. It runs from January 1 – March 31.

This enrollment period gives you a chance to revisit your plan choice and make changes if you need to. The changes you can make include the following:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).

  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare (Parts A & B).

  • Enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), if you go back to Original Medicare.

Who can use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is only for Medicare Advantage plan members. You cannot switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan at this time. For that, you generally need to wait until the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, October 15 – December 7.

How to decide if you need to change your Medicare plan

Make a point to use and rate your Medicare Advantage plan early in the year to learn if you are getting the coverage and customer service you want.

If you decide to switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan, you can choose one from the same insurance company as your current plan or from a different one. You can choose any plan offered where you live.

If you decide to go back to Original Medicare, look into Part D and Medicare Supplement plans first. You may need to add them to Original Medicare to get the coverage and financial protection you want. Also, think about how you will replace the coverage you may be giving up with your Medicare Advantage plan, such as dental and vision.

The bottom line

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, January 1 through March 31, gives you a second chance – after the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period – to make sure that you have a plan that fits your health and budget needs.

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