The MADP runs from January 1st through February 14th, and it replaces the old Open Enrollment Period (OEP) that used to run the first three months of each calendar year. During the OEP, Medicare beneficiaries previously were allowed to switch from one Medicare Advantage plan into another; however the new MADP is much more limited. Now, during MADP Medicare beneficiaries can only switch FROM Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare. There is no Medicare Advantage hopping, nor can traditional Medicare beneficiaries still sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan.However, people who drop their Medicare Advantage (MA) plan to switch to traditional Medicare will be made eligible for a special enrollment period for a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan (PDP). This special enrollment period is available regardless of whether or not the MA plan included prescription drug coverage. This is different from the prior rules under OEP, which did not allow someone to pick up new Part D coverage if that person didn't have any form of Part D coverage (either as part of a MA plan or a standalone PDP) at the beginning of the calendar year.
Also new in 2012 is the Medicare Advantage special enrollment period based on Plan Rating. Any Medicare beneficiary eligible for an MA plan is allowed to enroll in a 5-star MA plan at any point during the calendar year, if a 5-star plan happens to be available in the beneficiary’s service area. An individual may use this special enrollment period only one time per year.Until next time,