Publishing April 29th, 2022

Open Enrollment Period Study

Medicare Advantage's Open Enrollment Period (OEP) takes place annually from January 1 through March 31. 

The Medicare Advantage OEP gives individuals enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan an opportunity make a one-time switch to either another Medicare Advantage plan or to Original Medicare.  Switching is generally associated with some form of consumer dissatisfaction.   And it triggers something health plans refer to as Rapid Disenrollment - a phenomenon where a health plan member leaves the plan shortly after the new year (and new benefits) begin. 

Client Benefits

Deft Research's OEP Study helps carriers, agencies, and other organizations understand shopping and switching activity during this period.   The study delivers insight into key areas of health plan interest:

  • how the fall's annual election period played out for consumers and whether that experience is related to disenrollment in the OEP
  • departing members' experiences during their health plan's introduction to new benefits and on-boarding processes. 

Top Line Findings

  • Overall, a predictable 4% of Medicare Advantage members switched coverage during the OEP. 
  • MA members who switched during the AEP were more likely to switch again during the OEP.
  • Ancillary benefits, flexible allowances, dental and drug coverages are top factors in OEP switching
  • Some switched because they found a less expensive alternative


This year OEP switchers tended to be very low utilizers of health care.  Those with a need for more health care were more prone to stay with the MAPD they started the year with.  In the Medicare Advantage market, the quest for better ancillary benefits often coincides with seniors who are relatively healthy -- they are pursuing the most value, and don't find enough in traditional medical benefits alone.

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Table of Contents
Awareness of the OEP, Rates of Shopping and Switching
Member Experiences and Their Relationship to OEP Switching
Welcome Materials and Learning of Coverage Changes
OEP Shopping Channels and Prompts
Supplemental Benefit Utilization and Preferences

Click here to get a graphic showing the Top 10 OEP Growth Companies in 2021.

Learn More About the Medicare Advantage's Open Enrollment Period Study

Is OEP an Opportunity to Acquire New Medicare Advantage Members?