The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is over, and many agents are probably still recovering from the hectic time. Before you get too relaxed, however, remember that a new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is just around the corner. Make sure you know what you can and can’t do during the new enrollment period.

Here’s what Medicare enrollees can do.

Between January 1 and March 31, Medicare enrollees who have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019 will be able to make a one-time change.

  • They can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
  • They can switch to Original Medicare.
  • They can add or drop Medicare Part D coverage to coordinate with other enrollment changes.

This new election period replaces the old Medicare Advantage disenrollment period. The changes mean that enrollees have more options, as well as more time to make their decisions.

Here’s what Medicare enrollees can’t do.

Beneficiaries enrolled in Original Medicare will not be able to switch to Medicare Advantage during this time.

Additionally, Medicare Part D coverage changes must coincide with other changes. For example, a client who switches from Medicare Advantage with prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare can select a Medicare Part D plan to provide prescription coverage.

Here’s what agents can’t do.

During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, marketing activities are restricted under the 2019 Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines.

Between January 1 and March 31, you cannot send unsolicited marketing materials to Medicare enrollees regarding the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, and you cannot knowingly target Medicare enrollees with this information.

You cannot contact your clients who enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan during the open enrollment period to tell them about this new opportunity. Similarly, you cannot use a mailing list or other means of identification to target eligible enrollees.

Here’s what agents can do.

Although marketing the new open enrollment period is prohibited, you can participate in other forms of marketing. This includes marketing to age-ins, marketing to dual-eligible and LIS beneficiaries, and 5-star plans marketing continuous enrollment SEP.

Additionally, if a beneficiary requests you help, you can provide information or arrange a one-on-one meeting. This request must be initiated by the enrollee.

The guidelines specifically state that only intentional marketing to people who have already made an enrollment decision is prohibited. This means that if you are marketing to age-ins, you do not need to worry about the possibility that some of these individuals may have already made an enrollment decision. As long as your marketing materials stick to the initial enrollment period for age-ins, you are not violating the marketing restrictions on the open enrollment period.

Want to learn more? Make sure to join us for OEP Training on January 7. Register here.