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Learn what you can do during the Medicare open enrollment period

What’s the Difference Between OEP & AEP?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) takes place from October 15th to December 7th and allows you to make various changes to your Original Medicare coverage. 

The Open Enrollment Period (OEP), sometimes referred to as the General Enrollment Period (GEP), takes place from January 1st to March 31st, allows you to make one change to your Medicare Advantage coverage.

Let’s break down the difference between these two enrollment periods.

What Is the Annual Enrollment Period?

The AEP allows you to make multiple changes to your Medicare coverage. During this window of time, you can make one or more of the following changes:

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare and vice versa
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan without prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage with a Prescription Drug plan, and vice versa
  • Switch from one Prescription Drug plan to another
  • Switch to a completely new plan with a different provider

What Is the Open Enrollment Period (or General Enrollment Period)?

The OEP, on the other hand, only allows one change within the set window of time. You can:

  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

Unlike the AEP, you cannot, however:

  • Join a Part D Plan
  • Switch Part D Plans
  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage

Which Is Better — OEP or AEP?

The difference between these two periods is obvious. The AEP offers more options and flexibility than the OEP — the main differences between these plans include:

  • Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment: During the OEP, you cannot make any changes or enroll in a Part D plan. During the AEP, however, you can make any necessary changes to your drug coverage as you see fit.
  • The number of Allowed Changes: The AEP allows you to make as many changes to your coverage as you need. Say, for instance, you want to change both your Medicare Advantage plan and Part D plan. You can do this during the AEP, but not during the OEP, which only allows for one change per period.
  • Coverage Convenience: We have yet to mention one of the most convenient benefits of the AEP — because the period ends on December 7th, the changes you made to your coverage will become active at the first of the following year. The OEP, on the other hand, ends on March 31st and will become active midway through the year, making it a difficult time to make the necessary transition. 

Trusted Senior Specialists Can Help You — Call Us Today

Changing your Medicare coverage, whether during the AEP or OEP, can be tricky without the right advice and guidance. Whether you need help deciding when and what changes to make, or just want to be walked through the process, we’re here for you.

For free insurance help, call Trusted Senior Specialists at (855) 952-1941.