Did you sign up for a Medicare Advantage health plan last year only to find that it doesn’t meet your needs? Not to worry.
You still have time to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Original Medicare.
Between Jan. 1 and March 31 each year, you can make the following changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period:
During this period, you can’t:
You can only make one change during this period, and any changes you make will be effective the first of the month after the plan gets your request.
If you’re returning to Original Medicare and joining a drug plan, you don’t need to contact your Medicare Advantage plan to disenroll. The disenrollment will happen automatically when you join the drug plan.
In most cases, you must stay enrolled for the calendar year, starting on the date your coverage begins.
However, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These opportunities to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods.
Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP. You can learn more about SEPs here: medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/when-can-i-join-a-health-or-drug-plan/special-circumstances-special-enrollment-periods.
How do you switch? Follow these steps if you’re already in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch:
If you don’t have drug coverage, you should consider joining a Medicare prescription drug plan to avoid paying a penalty if you decide to join later. You may also want to consider buying a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy if you’re eligible.
You can find out more about Medigap here: medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap/4-steps-to-buy-a-medigap-policy.
For more details about Medicare Advantage plans, visit Medicare.gov/publications to view the booklet “Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans.”
If you believe you made the wrong plan choice because of inaccurate or misleading information, including information from Medicare’s online Plan Finder, call 1-800-MEDICARE and explain your situation. Call center representatives can help you throughout the year with options for making changes.
A final note: If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period (when you first became eligible for Medicare), you can change to another Medicare Advantage plan (with or without drug coverage) or go back to Original Medicare (with or without a drug plan) within the first 3 months you have Medicare.
Regional administrator for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories