What is OEP?
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has come and gone, but what comes next? With the beginning of the year comes the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) from January 1st- March 31st. If you are currently enrolled in an Advantage plan, this time frame is an opportunity to change your coverage for the remainder of the year if you’re not content with your current plan. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, luckily there are options!
The following are the specific options available:
1. Choose a different Medicare Advantage plan (with or without prescription drug coverage)
2. Revert to Original Medicare (Parts A & B) and enroll in a prescription drug plan, if applicable
- If you choose this option, keep in mind that you might not be able to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan (also known as Medigap) since it’s beyond the 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Your eligibility will primarily depend on the quality of your health at this time.
- Insurance companies will implement underwriting to evaluate your current health status. They’ll decide whether to accept you and if your application is approved, they’ll determine the policy premium based on the evaluation.
Any changes made during this timeframe will take effect the first day of the month after the request(s) has been approved. Whether or not you make any of the above changes, this enrollment period is an ideal time to evaluate your current plan, similar to AEP. Take inventory of your overall coverage and benefits, such as:
- In-network providers
- Requirements for services, such as referral for seeing a specialist
- Drug plan formulary
- Out-of-pocket costs like premiums, deductibles, copays, etc.
- Health & wellness services
While taking time to review these details may feel like a hassle, it’s worth confirming if your coverage is the best option for you. And if it isn’t, then you’ll have the opportunity to make changes and find a better fit during OEP.