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Understanding The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: What You Need to Know


As the new year unfolds, so does an important period for those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans: The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This period offers a unique opportunity for beneficiaries to make a change to their existing Medicare Advantage plan. Understanding the nuances of this Open Enrollment Period can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare needs.

What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage OEP gives individuals enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan the opportunity to use and reassess their plan for the new year. If their plan is not what they want or need, they can make one change during the first three months of the year, running from January 1st to March 31st each year.

What Changes Can You Make?

During the Medicare Advantage OEP, you are allowed to make one of the following changes:

  1. Switch from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a Different Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage: If you find a plan that better suits your current medical needs or budget, you can switch from your current Medicare Advantage plan to another one. This includes plans with or without prescription drug coverage.
  2. Leave a Medicare Advantage Plan and Return to Original Medicare: If you decide that a Medicare Advantage plan is no longer the best fit for you, you can switch back to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
  3. Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan after dropping a Medicare Advantage Plan: If you switch to Original Medicare, you may also add a Part D plan for prescription drug coverage.

Things to Consider During The Medicare Advantage OEP

When evaluating your current plan during OEP, consider the following:

  • Healthcare Needs: Does your plan still cover your healthcare needs?
  • Provider Network: Does the plan include your preferred doctors and hospitals in its network? If your doctors are not in network, then look for a new plan where you can continue to see them.
  • Costs: If your current plan is costing you more than you thought, look for plans with lower premiums, copays, etc.
  • Additional Benefits: Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing aids, and wellness programs. Are these additional benefits important to you?

How to Make a Plan Change

Consult a licensed agent who is contracted with all major carriers in your area to find the coverage you need. This way you can compare plans and carriers in one place. The choices you make during this period will generally take effect on the first of the month after the plan receives your request.

What if I don’t make a change during the Medicare Advantage OEP? If you stick with your plan then your next opportunity to assess your Medicare Advantage plan is during the Annual Election Period or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Learn more from our blog, Your Complete Guide to Medicare Enrollment Periods.


The Medicare Advantage OEP is an opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to ensure their healthcare coverage aligns with their current needs. Make the most of this opportunity to make sure you did not enroll in the wrong plan. Know your options and carefully evaluate your healthcare needs.

Still have questions about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period? Feel free to reach out to our licensed agents. We help make Medicare simple. Contact us here.

Blog references from the Medicare site at

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