Medicare Advantage is one of the primary alternatives to Original Medicare. It offers older adults greater flexibility with their coverage and, in some cases, fewer costs. However, it may be a little confusing to know when and how to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, as each form of healthcare has its own distinct open enrollment period.

So, when is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOE)? What can you do during this period? Finally, can you still acquire a Medicare Advantage plan outside of the MAOE? We will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s take a closer look at Medicare Advantage.

What is Medicare Advantage? 

Medicare Advantage is much like Original Medicare. However, rather than a medical plan provided by the government, Medicare Advantage is brokered through a private insurer. A standard Medicare Advantage plan provides all the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B. Additionally, most Medicare Advantage plans offer Part D prescription drug coverage, as well as vision, dental, hearing, and wellness coverage.

When is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

The MAOE is an annual enrollment period that goes from January 1 to March 31 every year. The next Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period will begin on January 1, 2021, and last for three months. It’s important to remember that Original Medicare has its own open enrollment period as well. The Medicare Open Enrollment period lasts from October 15 to December 7.

What Can You Do During the MAOE?

During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan. If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can shop for a different one. This is why it’s extremely important to review your current coverage before and during open enrollment so that you know if you want to make a change.

Can You Acquire a Medicare Advantage Plan Outside of MAOE?

In short, yes, you can get a Medicare Advantage plan outside of the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. You also have the option of acquiring a Medicare Advantage plan during the regular Medicare Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7). This means that you have more than five months out of the year during which you can get a new Medicare Advantage plan.

The Bottom Line

Medicare Advantage is a popular alternative to Original Medicare. It gives you the freedom to shop for a plan that meets your needs, while also providing the same cost-saving benefits of Original Medicare. Remember, f you would like to make a change to your Medicare coverage, make sure that you’re ready for the upcoming MAOE.

If you’d like to learn more about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period or your Medicare coverage options, feel free to fill out this form or give us a call anytime. Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents are focused on giving you the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.