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What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period? 

In 2019, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period takes the place of the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. During the disenrollment period, a person with a Medicare Advantage plan could disenroll from (drop) that coverage and return to Original Medicare. This new period, which runs from January 1 through March 31, gives beneficiaries who have a Medicare Advantage plan the opportunity to take these actions.

  • 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 to the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

  • This period does not apply to those who have Medicare 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: 02-05-2019