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  • Writer's pictureBrad Gunning

New Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Begins January 1

Updated: Oct 3, 2019

A major change comes to Medicare in 2019. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is replacing the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period with a new Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period. This new enrollment period runs from January 1 through March 31.

The Open Enrollment Period should not be confused with Medicare's Annual Election Period, which will continue to run from October 15 through December 7 each year. The new Open Enrollment specifically applies to people already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. It allows Medicare Advantage enrollees to:

  1. Switch Medicare Advantage plans,

  2. Leave a Medicare Advantage plan and join Original Medicare, or

  3. Sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan if leaving a Medicare Advantage plan that included prescription drug coverage.

While switching Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Election Period results in January 1 effective dates, those switching during the new Open Enrollment period will have effective dates with their new plans on the first of the upcoming month. For example, if an enrollee switches Medicare Advantage plans on February 10, their new plan will officially replace their current plan on March 1.

Those choosing to use the new Open Enrollment Period to leave their Medicare Advantage plan and join Original Medicare will have an opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, however, underwriting will be required unless an exception applies. Medicare Supplement underwriting does not require a physical or doctor's visit and is usually accomplished by answering a few basic questions regarding major health concerns.

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