What if I Missed AEP?

what if i missed aep

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the time of year when Medicare beneficiaries sign up for new plans or make changes to their existing plans. In 2023, AEP ended on December 7th.

But what if you missed AEP? Are you stuck with your current plan for another year? Not to worry! If you’re an Advantage plan member, there are still opportunities for you to make sure your plan is meeting your needs.

AEP ends and OEP begins

This time every year, we change the calendars—and we also change from AEP to OEP. Starting to feel like alphabet soup? OEP stands for Open Enrollment Period, and in 2024, OEP runs from January 1–March 31.

Yes, you read that right. There are two enrollment periods. Many seniors are understandably confused by that, so stay with us! 

What’s the difference between AEP and OEP? 

The million-dollar question! Besides swapping an O for an A, we also swap around exactly who is enrolling for what. AEP is when you can sign up for a new Medicare plan or make changes to your current Medicare plans. 

In comparison, OEP is for seniors who are on a Medicare Advantage plan. Every January, February and March, you have the opportunity to change plans, either to a different Advantage plan or to Original Medicare. 

The big difference is that OEP is only open to existing Medicare Advantage plan members. Seniors enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) can’t make changes during OEP. If you’re on Original Medicare, you’ll have to wait until AEP reopens at the end of 2024 to make changes. 

What if I missed AEP and I have Medicare Advantage?

If you’re a Medicare Advantage plan holder, you’ll be able to change your plan once during OEP. This year, OEP runs from January 1–March 31, 2024. 

You can make only one change during the OEP, so make sure you’re communicating with your Medicare insurance agent and confident in your decision before you make any changes.

What if I missed AEP and I have Original Medicare? 

Don’t worry, you still have the same coverage. If you’re happy with your current Medicare plan, great! You don’t need to do anything. Plans update their coverage on January 1st, so you should still review your benefits to make sure you know all the details about your updated plan.

If you do want to make some changes, but you weren’t able to make them during OEP, you may still be able to if you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

What is a SEP? 

There are a few special circumstances that allow seniors to change their plans during Special Enrollment Periods. These aren’t tied to the calendar as much as they’re tied to your life. These special circumstances include

When should I reach out about my plan?

If you’ve already signed up for Medicare and you’re happy with your plan, sit tight. You don’t need to do anything. Your benefits will automatically renew. 

But if you’re a Medicare Advantage plan holder and want to make a change, contact your Medicare insurance agent as soon as possible. The last day to make changes during OEP is March 31, 2024, so make sure you leave plenty of time to thoroughly review your options.

How can I learn more about AEP?

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If you have questions about enrollment periods or need help finding the best plan for you, get in touch with us at 877.255.6273.


image credit: Kateryna Mostova/shutterstock

Pete Blasi