We are now in the OEP (Open Enrollment Period) for Medicare which starts on January 1st and ends on March 31st. There are different rules for Medicare recipients and brokers during the OEP that differs from the Annual Election Period (AEP)
During this time frame, a Medicare recipient can make one final change to their Medicare Advantage Plans by choosing a different plan and will continue that new plan until December 31st. A recipient can go back to Original Medicare and pick a drug plan. They cannot change their current drug plan until the AEP next October through December.
A Medicare broker cannot solicit business during OEP but can help a client change plans at the client’s request. Nor can they solicit former clients who changed during the Annual Election Period (AEP) to a different plan. And or a different broker.
Simple rules yet it causes significant confusion for both the recipient and the broker.
The original OEP, which was prior to the Affordable Care Act was more flexible and accommodated recipients who wanted to change drug plans or do anything that was allowed during the AEP. Today there are more restrictions on recipients and brokers alike. We need to return to the original OEP and remove the restrictions.
The reason to go back is so Medicare recipients who made the wrong choice for themselves in Medicare Advantage plans or standalone drug plans could correct their errors and get the coverage they need. When the bill to re-instate the OEP the rules were supposed to be the same, but something happened when Congress approved the reinstatement of the OEP. My agency assisted with my Congressman to get the bill introduced in Congress and all we wanted to do was re-instate the OEP as it was prior to the Affordable Care Act. That did not happen and no one in Congress will tell us why or the reason we went to this format for OEP.
The Barend Agency Inc.
Len Barend, Broker