Can I Switch To Another Plan?
Medicare Open Enrollment
It’s a good idea to review your coverage annually. Medicare and private Medicare plans may change coverage and costs from year to year. You should receive an Annual Notice of Change, or ANOC, each fall that explains any plan changes taking effect the following year.
Changes You Can Make During Medicare Open Enrollment
Here are the kinds of changes you can make during Medicare Open Enrollment:
- Change from Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or vice versa.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
- Join, switch or drop a Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan. You may be charged a premium penalty if you drop Part D coverage and want it again later.
You may have other decisions to make if you change from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare.
- You may want to add a stand-alone prescription drug plan. Drug coverage is not provided with Original Medicare.
- You might consider adding a Medicare supplement insurance plan to help with some costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, like deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance.
Note that you may not have a guaranteed right to buy a Medicare supplement insurance plan at this time. You could be charged more or denied coverage. Be sure to check the laws in your state.
If you miss Medicare Open Enrollment, you may have to wait until the following year to change plans, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Medicare Special Enrollment Period
In general, you have 2 full months after the month of a qualifying event to make plan changes.
If you are moving, the timing of your SEP is based on when you notify your plan. If you notify your plan before you move, your SEP is based on the month that you actually move. If you notify your plan after you move, your SEP is based on the month that you notify your plan. In either case, your SEP lasts for 2 more full months.
Some common events that may qualify for this SEP include:
- You’re moving outside your current Medicare plan’s service area.
- You’re moving within your current plan’s service area, but you have new plan options.
- You’re moving into or out of an institution.
- You’re leaving retiree, union or COBRA coverage.
- You’re losing creditable drug coverage.
- Your current Medicare plan stops servicing your area.
Other life events may qualify for this SEP, too. You may want to call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office if you have questions
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period
You may also want to consider adding a Medicare supplement insurance plan to help with some costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, like deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. Note that you may not have a guaranteed right to buy a plan at this time. You could be charged more or denied coverage. Be sure to check the laws in your state.