The 21st Century Cures Act eliminates the existing Medicare Advantage disenrollment period that currently takes place from January 1st through February 14th of every year and, effective for 2019, replaces it with a new Medicare Advantage open enrollment period (OEP) that will take place from January 1st through March 31st annually.
The new Open Enrollment Period allows individuals enrolled in an Medicare Advantage plan, including newly Medicare Advantage plan-eligible individuals, to make a one-time election to go to another Medicare Advantage plan or Original Medicare. Individuals using the Open Enrollment Period to make a change back to Original Medicare may also add a Part D (drug) plan at that time.
What isn’t guaranteed for those that choose to go back to Original Medicare at this new “OEP” window is being accepted by a Medicare supplement plan insurance company. Those plans would still require medical underwriting. (Unless someone was within 6 months of activating their Part B portion of Medicare) While the underwriting can be considerably lenient, it’s still a possibility of being denied for those with serious and current medical conditions.