What You Can Do During Open Enrollment

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Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, 2016, is the primary opportunity for seniors with Medicare to make unrestricted changes to their Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans.

Even if you are happy with your current coverage, it's important to review all of your coverage options as plans change, their costs and benefits every year.

During open enrollment you can do the following:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer drug coverage
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely

A second chance: Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

January 1, 2017 – February 14, 2017

If you are unhappy with the choices you made during Open Enrollment regarding a Medicare Advantage Plan, there is a way out. You will have the option to switch to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).

During the MADP you can make changes only if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. You cannot make any changes if you have Original Medicare.

What you can do during MADP:

  • If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare.
  • If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you will have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.

What you can't do during MADP:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another.
  • Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan.
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4 Comments

Too confusing - you can change from original medicare to a medicare advantage plan but you can't switch from original medicare to a medicare advantage plan? huh?????? What's the difference?
@anonymous86008 -- There are no pre-existing exclusions for Part D prescription plans. Any changes for 2015 must be made before December 2014. Go to medicare.gov or contact Medicare (1-800-633-4227) for help to compare Part D plans for next year.
@mikki4est8s -- You can make the change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Open Enrollment Period of October 15 - December 7. You can not make this change during the January 1 - February 14 period.