Healthcare Educators


Medicare OEP: Everything You Need to Know

by | Jan 17, 2022

2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D plans went into effect on January 1. Now that you’ve had a little time to see what your plan is like, there’s a chance you’re disappointed. From Jan. 1 to March 31, individuals that are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan have a second chance. If you’re unhappy with your plan, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan whether it has prescription drug coverage or not. You can also go back to Original Medicare and join a Medicare Prescription Drug Program.

How Is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period Different from the Medicare Annual Election Period?

The AEP happens between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 with coverage beginning Jan. 1. Anyone who is enrolled in Medicare can participate in the AEP. Generally people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and those living with permanent kidney failure qualify for original Medicare. In order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan you must have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). During AEP, you should review the plans in your area and consider whether a new plan might be a better fit for your needs.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is only for people who are currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage and are unhappy with their plan. The period runs between Jan. 1 and March 31, and coverage starts the month after enrollment.

What If I Want to Switch Medicare Advantage Plans?

If you are unhappy with your 2022 plan, you can use the MA-OEP to select a new plan. For example, maybe you thought your plan included more benefits than it actually does. See if any plans in your budget provide extra benefits like vision and dental plans. Understanding the types of benefits you’d like in your plan can help you make the decision if you’d like to change.

You may also find out that your out-of-pocket costs are higher than you expected. Be sure to look at the doctors and specialists that are in your network. If you’ve changed doctors or have a new specialist, make sure they are in your network. Pay special attention to this step because out-of-network care may not be covered, and you may have higher out-of-pocket costs as a result. Also, check the prescription drugs on your formulary, and pay attention to your costs like premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

What If I’m Unhappy with Medicare Advantage?

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and find out that you prefer Original Medicare (Part A and B), you have until March 31 to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. Make sure you also enroll in a Medicare Part D plan if you need prescription drug coverage.

What If I Get a Call about a Medicare Plan?

Medicare scams are common, so watch out for unsolicited calls. Medicare plans are not allowed to call you to enroll you in a plan, unless you have asked to be called. Plans won’t ask you about your financial information including bank account numbers and credit card numbers. Do not give this information out over the phone.

No one should call you or visit you without your permission. You can report a plan by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

How Can I Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare Advantage Plans vary from one to another. Take time to find and compare plans that are in your area, based on the benefits you’ve decided are most important to you.

Our network of licensed insurance agents can help you review your options and enroll in a plan that meets your needs. Contact Medicare Educators.