| Mon, Dec 10, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

OEP Is Over: What to Do if You Missed It

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

what to do missed oep open enrollmentThe Medicare OEP, or Open Enrollment Period, runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. (It’s sometimes also referred to as the “AEP,” or “Annual Enrollment Period.”) During this time, you can take a look at changes to your current plan for the coming year, and see whether there are other choices that might better meet your coverage needs.

OEP for 2013 has ended. What happens if you didn’t do anything? And what can you do now?

If you already have Medicare coverage, then usually doing nothing means that you’ll be enrolled in the same Medicare plan or plans in 2013 that you were a member of in 2012.

Note: Though you may be enrolled in the same plan, those plan benefits may be changing in 2013. You have both print and online resources that lay out those plans for you. For more information, see the Medicare Made Clear blog post “Learning About 2013 Changes to Your Medicare Plan.”

If you want to change your Medicare coverage, there are a few other possibilities which might apply to you and your situation.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP): Under certain circumstances, you can change your Medicare coverage outside the OEP. This is called a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP. The circumstances under which you would qualify for a SEP might be a change in employer-based health insurance for you or your spouse. It might also be due to a move. The timing for each SEP is based on your specific situation.

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP): The MADP runs every year from January 1 through February 14. It allows you to drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, if you wish. If your Medicare Advantage plan includes drug coverage, then you can also join a standalone prescription drug plan at this time. If you already have Original Medicare, then you can’t switch your coverage at this time.

Five-Star Medicare Advantage plans: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) runs the Five-Star Quality Rating System for Medicare Advantage Plans. The purpose of the System is to help consumers learn more about their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans. The plans are rated on a variety of different criteria, including health outcomes for their members.

Starting at the end of 2011, Medicare recipients could enroll in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans which had received a five-star ranking from December 8 through November 30 of the following year—not just during OEP. (This is assuming you meet the plan’s enrollment requirements, such as living in the service area.) You could also disenroll from one five-star Medicare Part C or Part D plan and enroll in another during that time period.

Keep in mind that there are relatively few plans that have received a five-star rating for 2013. You can check the star ratings of the plans in your area by using the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov.

Medicare Supplement plans: You can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan (sometimes called a Medigap plan) at any time. However, unlike during your Medicare Supplement Insurance OEP (the six months following when you first enroll in Medicare Part B), your application can be denied. Or you may be charged a higher premium, based on your health history.

To learn more about Medicare Supplement plans in your area, you can:

  • Visit Medicare.gov.

  • Contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

  • Call Medicare Made Clear at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711. Our representatives are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Reminder for 2013

So, there are a few opportunities to change your Medicare coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period. However, the OEP still remains a yearly opportunity to evaluate your coverage and switch your coverage, if that’s what’s best for you.

So mark your calendars: Medicare OEP takes place October 15 – December 7 in 2013, too. And Medicare Made Clear will be here, providing you with information to help you make the right Medicare choice for you.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Medicare Eligibility and Enrollment—MedicareMadeClear.com

Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods (PDF)—Medicare.gov publication

Medicare Plan Finder—Medicare.gov tool

 

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