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What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period? 

Until 2019, there was the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. This gave beneficiaries who had elected Medicare Advantage the opportunity to disenroll from (drop) that coverage and return to Original Medicare. Then, Medicare introduced the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Those who have a Medicare Advantage plan can now do more than just drop the coverage. From January 1 through March 31, they can:

  • Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, known as a MA-PD plan.
  • Switch to a Medicare Advantage plan without prescription drug coverage.
  • Disenroll from the Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B, with the option to enroll in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.*

Coverage becomes effective the month after the switch. 

Here are some important points about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

  • This period does not apply to those who have Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) or cost plans.
  • Those who have Original Medicare cannot drop that coverage and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • A Medicare beneficiary cannot change to a different Part D drug plan or enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan. 

*Be aware: Federal law does not provide a guaranteed right to purchase a Medigap policy during this open enrollment period. In most states, those returning to Original Medicare will likely have to pass medical underwriting in order to get a Medigap policy. 

Last updated: 01-18-2021