Can I Change My Medicare Plan?Posted by Medicare Made Clear
Medicare provides certain time periods when you can change Medicare plans. The main one is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (formerly known as Open Enrollment), which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Anyone on Medicare can make coverage changes during this time that then go into effect the following year.
But what do you do if your new Medicare plan doesn’t fit your needs? Or if during the year you are caught off guard by changes to your plan benefits? Maybe your refill is denied at the pharmacy counter because your medication is not on your plan’s list of covered drugs (formulary). Or maybe you learn that your doctor is not in your plan’s network.
If any of these things happen, you may be able to change Medicare plans before the next Annual Enrollment Period. But you’ll need to meet certain qualifications.
When You Can Change Medicare Plans After Annual Enrollment
There are two opportunities outside of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) when you may be able to make changes to your Medicare coverage: 1) The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period and 2) Special Enrollment Periods.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. You have to be currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan to be eligible to make changes during this time. Changes you can make include:
- Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan
- Drop a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare
- Join a Part D prescription drug plan if you qualify.
Get more information in our article, What Can I Do during the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period, and in the video below.
Special Enrollment Period
You may also change Medicare plans during a Medicare Special Enrollment Period, if you qualify. During a Special Enrollment Period, you usually can join, switch or drop a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D prescription drug plan.
You may be grated a Special Enrollment Period in select situations. Examples include:
- You move out of your Medicare plan’s service area, or move within the service area and have new plan choices.
- Your Medicare plan stops serving your area or loses its contract with Medicare.
- You lose creditable drug coverage through no fault of your own.
For more information, visit MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.