What You Need to Know Before Enrollment Ends on March 31st

Medicare Open Enrollment ended in December, but there are two other enrollment options that began at the beginning of 2019 and are still in effect until the end of March: Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment and the Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP).

From 2011 to 2018, people were not given the option to switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan outside of the fall open enrollment period (unless they were enrolled in a Special Enrollment Period).1 Starting in 2019, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period has been placed into effect,2 which allows you to make different types of changes to your Medicare plans that could not have been made in the previous enrollment period.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period

According to Medicare.gov, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is for those who are currently in a Medicare Advantage Plan.3 The purpose of this enrollment period is to give existing beneficiaries a choice to do the following:

  • Switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Disenroll from their current Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare, making them eligible to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (also referred to as Part D)
  • Change to another Medicare Advantage Plan if they have originally enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the initial enrollment period
  • Revert back to Original Medicare – within the first 3 months – if they have Medicare

New policies made during the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period will go into effect on the first day of the month that follows the completed application

In addition, if you are looking to make changes to your Medicare plan, it is important to be aware of the changes that cannot be completed at this time. If you are currently in Original Medicare, these adjustments must be submitted during the fall enrollment period:

  1. Switching to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  2. Switching from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another
  3. Joining a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

These changes must be made during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period that occur from October 15 to December 7.

Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP)

In addition to the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period, MedicareFAQ.com states that the Medicare General Enrollment Period is for those who need to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. It’s important to know that if you need to buy Part A, you must also enroll in Part B at this time. Those who are currently receiving Medicare are eligible to enroll in Part A and/or Part B if:

  • They did not sign up when they were first eligible
  • They are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period

Both enrollment periods end on March 31, 2019.

For more information about Medicare, as well as many other retirement issues, please call Eric Scott Financial at 435.773.9444.

Sources:

1 MedicareResources.org: Trust Your Guide to Medicare, “When is Medicare Open Enrollment?” MedicareResources.org https://www.medicareresources.org/faqs/when-is-the-next-medicare-open-enrollment-period/ (Accessed March 13, 2019)

2 Medicare FAQ Compare Rates & Save, “Medicare Open Enrollment Dates.” MedicareFAQ.com https://www.medicarefaq.com/faqs/medicare-open-enrollment-dates/?eiid=1621980847.1552327379 (Accessed March 12, 2019)

3 Medicare.gov: The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare, “Joining a Health or Drug Plan.” Medicare.gov https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/joining-a-health-or-drug-plan (Accessed March 12, 2019)