New Medicare Open Enrollment Dates

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, has announced that beginning in 2019, there will be a continuous Medicare Open Enrollment Period which will now be January 1- March 31st. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to to make a one time change of plans.

In 2011, the Affordable Care Act changed the Annual Election Period (AEP) to October 15 through December 7 every year and changed the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) into a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) which was January 1-February 14. During the Disenrollment Period, you can drop your current Medicare Advantage plan and can return to Medicare and purchase Medicare Supplement. You can purchase Part D plan but only if you drop your Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan, MAPD.


The 21st Century Cure Act that just passed and signed into law is bringing back the Open Enrollment Period dates. During the AEP, beneficiaries can change switch as much as they want but a final decision will be by December 7.  The AEP will still during October 15- December 7 every year where beneficiaries can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare
  • Change Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Enroll in a Part D plan
  • Drop prescription drug coverage
  • Switch or purchase Medicare Supplement Plan


During the 2019 OEP, January 1-March 31st, beneficiaries can make a one time change to:

  • Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan to another MAPD
  • Switch a MAPD to Original Medicare and a Part D
  • Switch Original Medicare and Part D to a MAPD.
  • Change Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
  • Purchase Medicare Supplement Plan when switching to Original Medicare*

*When purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan during OEP, you will not have guaranteed issue and subject to underwriting.

The AEP can be a hectic time for many Medicare beneficiaries because it falls during the holidays. Some people will wait until the holidays are over to try and change plans and find out they cannot do it until the next AEP in a year. Now, with this new OEP, from January 1-March 31st, beneficiaries can help those that missed the deadline to have another chance to make changes.


About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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