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medicare advantage open enrollment period

What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

If you’re not happy with your Medicare Advantage plan, you’re not stuck. Learn how you can use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to make a plan change.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is when those currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) can:

  • Return to Original Medicare – Medicare Part A & B.
  • Join a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D) if you return to Original Medicare.
  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans with or without prescription drug coverage.

Find the right Medicare plan for you

When is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

You have the option to review your current Medicare Advantage plan and switch your health plan every year between January 1 – March 31. Note that only one plan change is allowed during this period.

If you don’t make a plan change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP), you will need to wait until the October 15 – December 7 Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP). Or, if you qualify, you can make a change during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

How Does the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period Work?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period isn’t for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries; those who want to enroll in Original Medicare Part A, Part B, or Part D for the first time. It is also not a time for those with Original Medicare to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) for the first time.

This enrollment period is only open to those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. It’s for those that find their new plan isn’t meeting their needs.

Should I Make a Plan Change?

You don’t need to use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to make a change. You should, however, speak with a local licensed agent if your current plan is not meeting your needs.

Some questions to ask yourself before making any changes.

  • Has my health changed?
  • Have my finances changed?
  • Does my Medicare plan still cover my preferred doctors?
  • Did my monthly premiums increase?
  • Have my out-of-pocket costs increased?

Consider these questions, and then speak with a local licensed agent to see if any new plan options are available in your area. When comparing your current plan with potential Medicare coverage options, consider the following:

  • Does the plan have better benefits?
  • Does the plan accept my preferred doctors and specialists?
  • Does the plan have a higher Star Rating than my current plan?
  • Does the plan cover my prescription medications and maintain or lower my drug costs?
  • Does the plan offer additional benefits that aren’t covered by Original Medicare Parts A & B? (e.g., dental, vision, hearing, fitness memberships, transportation assistance, meal delivery, telehealth, an over-the-counter monthly allowance, and more.)

Found a new plan that fits your health and budget needs? Make a switch during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. If your needs change again, you can make a plan switch during the October 15 – December 7 Annual Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period, if you qualify.

Agent tip: You can switch back to Original Medicare, but you may not be able to purchase a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan. In some instances, medical underwriting is necessary.

Speak with a local licensed insurance agent
David Luna Co-founder and
Licensed Insurance Agent
(623) 223-8884 (TTY: 711) Mon-Fri 8am-8pm
There's no obligation to enroll

When is My Effective Date?

Want to switch to Original Medicare with or without a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan or change your Medicare Advantage plan? In that case, your new coverage will start on the first day of the month after your new plan gets your coverage request.

Because the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 annually, these are your potential effective dates based on the date of the coverage request:



Request for coverage



Effective Date


January 1 – 31

February 1

February 1 – 28

March 1

March 1 – 31

April 1

If you decide to make a change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, be sure to let our doctors, specialists, and other healthcare providers know about your new coverage.

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Read more by David Luna

I am a Spanish-speaking Arizona Life and Health Insurance Licensed Agent and have been helping people with Medicare since 2005. I am a Marine Corps Veteran & former police officer. I enjoy watching football and basketball but hold family time in the highest regard.

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