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Maximizing Your Medicare Benefits: OEP 2023 Enrollment Tips


Posted on January 23, 2023 by Austin Lang

Medicare Open Enrollment 2023: Is it time to make a change?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is here, marking the perfect time to make adjustments to your Medicare Part C health insurance coverage. It’s a valuable opportunity to enroll in Medicare, and even if you’re satisfied with your existing health coverage, it never hurts to consider your options. Here’s how to use Open Enrollment 2023 to secure your coverage for the coming year, and why it’s important never to rest on your laurels when it comes to Medicare health insurance.

Enroll in Medicare: When is Medicare Open Enrollment?

A Medicare Enrollment Form

Open Enrollment for Medicare runs from January 1 – March 31 each year and allows those already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage insurance plan to change their coverage. It is one of two enrollment periods that occur annually, the other being the appropriately named Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), running from October 15 – December 7.

The difference between the OEP and AEP can be confusing, so here’s a quick summary.

  • The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is for people who want to enroll in Medicare health insurance for the first time, as well as those with Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) who wish to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare is for people already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. It allows you to switch between plans or to return to Original Medicare. You cannot enroll in Medicare Advantage from Original Medicare during this period.

Think of OEP as a sort of ‘trade-in’ period, where you can swap from one plan to another. Be sure not to confuse Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment with the Medicare Annual Enrollment period, which is a different type of enrollment period that runs from October 15 – December 7 each year.

I’m happy with my health coverage. Why should I care about the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare?

A balance scale with two question marks being weighed.

The main benefit of the OEP is the opportunity to compare. In addition to allowing consumers more flexibility in choosing a plan, it’s meant to force insurance providers to innovate. New plans are introduced yearly, with benefits designed to encourage enrollment in Medicare. In addition, our health isn’t always consistent: we might discover new needs our existing plans won’t cover, or we might find our existing coverage offers more than we’re willing to pay for. You may even switch plans because you’re unsatisfied with your network! There’s any number of reasons why you might want to switch. During OEP, they’re all valid. 

How do I compare Medicare plans?

An Orange and an Apple, side by side.

We have a detailed guide on how to compare Medicare plans, but the short version is that there’s a lot more than just price. For starters, you’ll want to consider the benefits that plan offers. All Medicare plans, including Original Medicare, offer the same basic benefits. Medicare Advantage plans differ by offering a variety of additional benefits. For instance, many Medicare Advantage plans offer dental care and dentures, while other plans may be specifically tailored to a condition or institution. 

Take a moment to consider what benefits you currently use from your Medicare plan, or what benefits you might expect to use in the coming year. It’s generally not a good idea to assume you won’t need some sort of medical coverage, so it’s better to focus on other benefits like grocery assistance, transportation to appointments, or gym memberships. Our free comparison tool allows you to look at plan benefits in detail. You can also perform a side-by-side comparison of plans to compare things like copayments, deductibles, and networks. 

What if I want to return to Original Medicare?

A Medicare Card

You can! Sometimes, a Medicare Advantage plan isn’t the right choice. In that case, you can return to an Original Medicare plan, with the option of adding a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. However, you cannot take advantage of the OEP to switch between a Part D plan independent of a Medicare Advantage plan, nor can you use it to add Part D drug coverage to your existing Original Medicare plan.

If you need help comparing plans, or just want to review your options, we can help. Call one of our friendly, licensed insurance agents to explore your options! We can help you go over your current healthcare treatment and drug coverage and explore other options available in your area. Call us today at (800) 950-0608 to begin your search!

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