A quick guide to understanding what you need to know!

If you are trying to understand what your options are for health insurance provided through The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) It can be both frustrating and confusing!

No need to worry, the experts at The Retirement Benefits Guide (UBG) are here to help you navigate through the rough waters of this important decision for you and/or your family. 

AEP stands for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. This period is a set time each year for changing your Medicare coverage choices if you choose to. AEP runs from October 15 to December 7. New coverage choices go into effect on January 1.

During the AEP you have several options:

  • Change to a Medicare Advantage plan from Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another (regardless of whether either plan offers drug coverage).
  • Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Change from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another.
  • Opt out of Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Again, the changes will take place in January 1st of the following year. 

But what happens if you want to make changes after the AEP has ended? That’s where OEP comes into play and where it can get, at least a little confusing! 

OEP stands for Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Each year, there’s a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 – March 31. So, if you’re unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C), you have options!

Some history: The Medicare OEP is not new. It was a regular part of each Medicare year before the ACA legislation discontinued it. The Affordable Care Act law signed in 2010 ended the original Medicare OEP and replaced it with a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment period that ran from January 1st to February 14th. This period was different from the Medicare Advantage or Medicare OEP (January 1st to March 31st) in that it only allowed Medicare Advantage enrollees to go back to Original Medicare. It did not allow them to change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.

That is now changing, and we are going back to the way it was before the ACA legislation. 

Here’s what you need to know in 2022: 

Medicare Advantage plan participants can make a one-time plan change from January 1 to March 31 each year. This is different from AEP.

Things you can do:

  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Drop Medicare Advantage plan coverage and return to Original Medicare.
  • Add a standalone Part D drug plan if you drop Medicare Advantage coverage.

Things you can’t do:

  • The Medicare OEP does not allow a beneficiary to change from one Part D plan to another.
  • Be careful! This period does NOT guarantee you a free pass into a Medicare supplement to go alongside your Original Medicare.

For anyone making these important decisions regarding health care, it is always recommended to consult an experienced and licensed health care insurance professional.

Visit https://www.medicare.gov/ to change your plan or learn more

Skip to content