AARP/UnitedHealthcare Open Enrollment Periods for Medicare

In this article...
  • The AARP Medicare Open Enrollment Period you use depends on the type of Medicare plan you want. Learn about AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare plans and the best times to sign up.

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UnitedHealthcare sells Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans through a partnership with AARP. 

Each type of AARP Medicare plan comes with its own enrollment periods when you may purchase or switch coverage.

Learn more about each type of Medicare open enrollment period you may want to use to sign up for AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare coverage if you're qualified, including the enrollment dates and the steps you can take.

When Is the 2024 AARP Enrollment Period?

AARP doesn't have a special enrollment period for Medicare plans, but you can apply for a UnitedHealthcare/AARP Medicare plan during certain Medicare enrollment periods. Your unique circumstances and/or the time of year affect your Medicare enrollment periods during.

Each insurance company follows the same Medicare enrollment periods for its respective plans. Whether you are enrolling in a plan from AARP or any other top insurance company, your enrollment periods will be as follows:

What Are the Enrollment Periods for AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C) plans use four different enrollment periods. During these periods, you can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan that combines your Part A and Part B benefits into a single plan sold by a private insurance company like the AARP/UnitedHealthcare partnership.

Most Medicare Advantage plans include extra benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses, fitness club memberships and more. Your Medicare Advantage open enrollment period can also be your time to sign up for your dental, hearing and vision insurance coverage, if those benefits are included with a Medicare Advantage plan you enroll in.

  1. When you first become eligible for Medicare, you will typically be given a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. This period begins three months before you turn 65 years old, includes your birthday month and continues for another three months.

  2. The Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period (also called the Annual Enrollment period or AEP) lasts from October 15 to December 7 each year.

  3. Special Enrollment Periods may be granted at any time for those who experience certain qualifying life events such as moving to a new area or losing their current health insurance coverage.

  4. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period lasts from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, this enrollment period is only open to existing Medicare Advantage members who wish to change plans. It is not for those looking to enroll in Medicare Advantage for the first time.  

You can compare Medicare Advantage plans available where you live for free online, and you can request a free plan quote and call to chat with a licensed insurance agent to learn more.

What Is the Open Enrollment Period for AARP Medicare Part D Drug Plans?

Medicare Part D drug plans (PDP) cover prescription medications.

There are three different enrollment period during which you may be able to sign up for an AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D plan. Each of these enrollment periods is outlined in the above section.

  1. Initial Enrollment Period
  2. Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
  3. Special Enrollment Periods (when eligible) 

You can compare Medicare Part D plans available in your area and – if you’re eligible – enroll online.

What Is the Open Enrollment Period for UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement (Medigap)?

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) uses just one open enrollment period, known as the Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period only lasts for six months, and it begins the day you are at least 65 years old and enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. 

You are not restricted to enrolling in an AARP Medigap plan only during this time. In fact, you may apply for a Medicare Supplement plan at any time of the year.

However, signing up during this open enrollment period gives you guaranteed issue rights. You may also have guaranteed issue rights for other circumstances such as if your employer-provided health coverage is ending or if your current Medigap plan ends through no fault of your own.

If you apply for a Medigap plan when you don’t have guaranteed issue rights, insurance companies like AARP/UnitedHealthcare can use medical underwriting such as health questions and a health exam to determine your plan premium rates and eligibility. This means you could potentially be denied coverage or charged a higher rate due to your health.

Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans available near you and call to speak with a licensed insurance agent to find out if you’re eligible to enroll during you open enrollment period. 

How Do You Qualify for an AARP Special Enrollment Period?

Medicare Special Enrollment Periods are issued on a case-by-case basis and may take place at any time of the year for varying durations. Special Enrollment Periods are granted by Medicare, not by individual insurance providers like AARP/UnitedHealthcare.

There are a variety of reasons you might be given a Special Enrollment Period, such as moving to a new area, leaving a job with employer-sponsored health insurance, gaining or losing Medicaid eligibility, having a plan that does not renew its contract with Medicare and more.

What Is the Difference Between AEP and OEP? 

The acronyms “AEP” and “OEP” are often used interchangeably and can sometimes create some confusion among beneficiaries. 

AEP refers to the Annual Enrollment Period that takes place each fall and gives Medicare beneficiaries an opportunity to add, drop or switch Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans. This is also referred to as the fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

OEP is short for open enrollment period, which is a broad term that can refer to different types of Medicare enrollment periods.

  • The fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period (Oct 15 - Dec 7)
  • Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period
  • The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (Jan 1 - Mar 31)

Does Everyone Have the Same Enrollment Period?

Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period and your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period are unique to your circumstances, your age and other factors. Other beneficiaries may not have the same Medigap OEP or Medicare IEP.

All insurance carriers abide by the same other enrollment periods, including the fall Open Enrollment Period, Special Enrollment Periods and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

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