Changing Your Medicare Advantage Plan
When can you change your Medicare plan? Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans can be changed during the Annual Election Period.
One great thing about Medicare Advantage plans is that they have only one health question to apply. That question is: Do you have ESRD, or End Stage Renal Disease? If you are not in kidney failure or waiting for a kidney transplant, then you can qualify. You can enroll in any Medicare Advantage plan you want, as long as you apply during the proper election period.
When you first become eligible for and enroll in both Medicare Part A & B, you have an Initial Election Period. This period allows you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan up to 3 months before and 3 months after your birth month.
There is also the Annual Election Period (AEP, which occurs from October 15th December 7th each year. During this time, you can change from original Medicare into a Medicare Advantage plan. You can also change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Changing Medicare Advantage plans during the AEP is very common because these plans change their benefits each year. If your doctor stops participating in your current plans network, then youll most likely use the AEP to change to a different Medicare Advantae plan.
You can even dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to original Medicare with a Part D drug plan. The AEP is the most commonly used election period to make changes to your coverage.
Medigap Open Enrollment Period
The Medigap open enrollment period depends on your 65th birthday and your Part B enrollment status.
Medigap Open Enrollment
- If youre turning 65: Six-month period starting the first day of the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B
- The optimal time to buy a Medigap plan is during this open enrollment period when plans are priced better. Your Medigap options may be more limited and expensive after the open enrollment period.
- If youre 65 or older: Six-month period starting once youre enrolled in Part B
- In this case, your open enrollment period cant be changed or repeated.
Applying for Medigap beyond your open enrollment period might require a medical underwriting process, during which the insurance company decides whether to accept your application based on your health and medical history.
Can I Change My Medicare Coverage Outside Of The Medicare Open Enrollment Period
You can, but generally only under special circumstances that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period . These circumstances include moving to a new location that is outside of your current plans service area or where additional plan options are available, moving back into the U.S. after living abroad, moving into or out of a facility, or if Medicare terminates your current Medicare Advantage plan.
Some beneficiaries can change coverage on a quarterly basis. This includes enrollees who receive assistance from Medicaid and enrollees who receive Extra Help paying their Medicare drug plan premiums and cost sharing, who can switch Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans once per calendar quarter in the first three quarters of the year, and during the Medicare Open Enrollment period that runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. Some beneficiaries can change coverage from month to month. This includes beneficiaries in certain institutions, such as nursing homes, who can switch Medicare Advantage or Part D plans once a month for as long as they are living there.
You May Like: Does Medicare Pay For Vascepa
What Is The Deadline For Changing Medicare Plans
With people being able to change their plans at any time, there aren’t any deadlines on when they must switch by, but there are some restrictions.
One restriction is that changing medical supplement plans doesn’t cover people who may have guaranteed issues again.
This impacts people with pre-existing conditions, which could see the companies deny a person coverage.
People should be careful when changing medical insurance plans to avoid a switchover gap, which could leave them uncovered for a brief period
The general rule of thumb is ensuring that you have an alternative plan which has started a couple of days before your previous plan officially expires.
This prevents any gaps in coverage and guards against random instances of misfortune which really can happen at any minute of any day.
Who Is Eligible For Medicare
You are eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B at age 65 if:
- You are a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident who has lived in the U.S. for five continuous years
- You or your spouse have worked long enough to be eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits
- You or your spouse are government employees or retirees who have not paid into Social Security but have paid Medicare payroll taxes
You can meet Medicare eligibility under 65 if you:
- Have been receiving Social Security disability benefits or certain Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least 24 months
- You have ALS
- You have End-Stage Renal Disease and you or your spouse have paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time
Recommended Reading: Will Medicare Pay For Palliative Care
Medicare Deadlines To Sign Up For Part C And Part D
To add a Medicare Advantage plan and prescription drug coverage , you need to first sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B. Once enrolled in Part A and Part B, you can sign up for Part C and Part D during the same Initial Enrollment Period or, if you work past 65, you can sign up once you retire during your 8-month Special Enrollment Period.
What Is The Medicare Special Enrollment Period
If you meet the criteria for a Medicare special enrollment period , you’ll be able to change your Medicare Advantage, Original Medicare or Medicare Part D plans. Qualifying situations include moving, having other coverage options, becoming eligible for Medicaid and more.
Medicare.gov has very specific rules about special enrollment periods and what Medicare changes you can make during what qualifying event. Below are the guidelines for some of the most common special enrollment circumstances.
|Special enrollment qualification||What Medicare changes you can make|
|Moved to a new address with different plan options||Return to Original Medicare or change coverage with Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D|
|Changed eligibility for employer, union or COBRA coverage||Join or drop Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D|
|Youâre eligible to be dual enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid||Enroll, cancel or change Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D|
|You have or recover from a severe or disabling condition||Enroll or cancel a Medicare Chronic Care Special Needs Plan|
|A 5-star Medicare plan becomes available in your area||You can join the 5-star Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan|
|You qualify for Medicaid, State Pharmaceutical Assistance or Medicare Extra Help||You can enroll, cancel or change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D enrollment several times during the year|
Don’t Miss: Does Medicare Have Long Term Care Insurance
Youre Our First Priorityevery Time
We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesnt feature every company or financial product available on the market, were proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward and free.
So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about , but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.Here is a list of our partners.
An Employer Offer To Help With The Cost Of Coverage
Gaining access to an individual coverage HRA or a QSEHRA from your employer to help with coverage costs doesnt limit your ability to choose a new plan during a Special Enrollment Period. However, make sure you enroll in a plan that starts by the date your individual coverage HRA or QSEHRA begins, unless your employer offers a later start date.
Read Also: Is Viberzi Covered By Medicare
Enrolling In Medicare Advantage
To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will need to have Original Medicare coverage and live in an area where an Advantage plan is offered.
A Medicare Advantage plan will wrap your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage into one plan. But youll still have to pay the government a premium for Part B, in addition to the premium you pay for Medicare Advantage .
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan when youre first eligible for Medicare, or during the annual Medicare open enrollment period in the fall .
What You Should Know:
There are 3,550 Medicare Advantage Plans available nationwide in 2021, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The average Medicare beneficiary has access to 33 different plans she can choose from. This can make choosing the right plan for you a challenge. The good news is that changing Medicare Advantage Plans is easy: Simply join a new plan and youll be automatically disenrolled from your old plan. The bad news is there are only certain times of the year when you can change your Medicare Advantage Plan. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Also Check: Does Medicare Cover Wheelchair Repairs
Making The Switch Is Simple
- If you currently have Original Medicare and switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, your new health insurance plan will be activated on Jan. 1.
- If youre switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, enrolling in the new plan will automatically disenroll you from your old plan. Now thats simple!
- If you have a stand-alone prescription drug plan and/or a Medicare Supplement plan and you switch to an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan, we can guide you through the steps to disenroll from your old plan. Your new coverage will begin on Jan. 1.
Dont let concerns about how to switch Medicare plans keep you from looking at the why. If your current coverage isnt meeting your needs, it may be time to consider changing Medicare plans.
Humana makes it easy to compare our plan costs and coverage. Find out if your drugs are covered and see doctors in our network.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
If you choose not to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or stand-alone Medicare prescription drug coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the annual Fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period .
AEP is also called the Medicare Annual Election Period and the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
This period runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
During the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage, you can:
- Enroll in, make changes to or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan
- Enroll in, make changes to or disenroll from a Medicare Prescription Drug plan
Plan changes you make during the 2020 Medicare Fall Annual Enrollment Period go into effect January 2021.
Also Check: Does Medicare Pay For Dtap Shots
When Am I Eligible For Medicare Part D
The first time youre eligible for Part D benefits is during your Medicare Part D Initial Enrollment Period . Your IEP for Part D is the same time as your IEP for Original Medicare and Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage. Your IEP lasts for seven months and:¹
- Begins three months before, and ends three months after, you turn 65, or
- Begins three months before, and ends three months after, your 25th month of getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits.
If you didnt get Part D during your IEP, you get another chance to do so during the Medicare Part D Open Enrollment. However, you might pay the Part D late enrollment penalty if:²
- You did not join a plan during your IEP, or
- You went more than 63 days past your IEP without having other credible drug coverage.
If you receive assistance to pay your Part D drug costs through the Medicare Extra Help program, you dont pay the penalty.
Outside of these election periods for Medicare drug benefits, you can join, change, or drop Part D coverage if youre eligible for a Special Enrollment Period . There are various life events that can qualify you for an SEP, including moving to a location that has new plan options or losing coverage from Medicaid, an employer, or union.
How To Cancel A Medicare Supplement Plan
There is not a required disenrollment period for canceling your Medicare Supplement plan. You may drop your Medigap policy at any time by requesting a cancellation through your insurance company however, if you decide to leave, you may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan at another time, unless you have a trial right or guaranteed issue right .
Need help choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan? No matter where you are in your Medicare journey, Medicare.orgs information and resources can help make it easy to find the quality and affordable Medicare plan thats right for you. We offer free comparisons for Medicare Advantage Plans , Medicare Supplement Plans , and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans .
Get an online quote for Medicare plans that fit your health care needs today! Or call TTY 711 to get answers and guidance over the phone from an experienced licensed sales agent.
You May Like: Does Medicare Cover Transportation To Physical Therapy
How To Get Help Changing Your Medicare Supplement Policy
Many people think Medicare is free. But, there are many costs you need to understand. This is why our recommendation is Medigap coverage.
Changing Medicare Supplement insurance can be more complicated than signing up for the first time. At MedicareFAQ, we want to make sure you get the coverage thats right for you, at the best possible price.
The best plan for your neighbor may not be the best plan for you, let us help you get the coverage you deserve at a price you can afford.
Well give you quotes, answer questions, and help you navigate the application process.
Contact us today for a free quote by calling the number you see above. Our team of licensed insurance agents in your state are experts when it comes to Medicare guidelines and best practices.
We know your time is valuable if you prefer to compare rates online then fill out our online rate form.
- Was this article helpful ?
Change Medicare Plans During Special Election Period
Medicare has certain provisions to help you deal with unexpected happenings. If you go through certain special circumstances, you may be able to change Medicare plans during Special Election Periods. These events may include, but arent limited to:
moving to a new address losing your current coverage qualifying for other coverage such as Medicaid, Employer Group Coverage and State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program becoming qualified for Extra Help to pay for Medicare Part D coverage through the Social Security Administration
The dates and types of changes you can make vary according to the Special Election Period.
You May Like: Can A 60 Year Old Get Medicare
When Is The Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
You can sign up for Medicare during this seven-month period around your 65th birthday.
Your initial enrollment period begins three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday. It includes the month of your birthday, and your enrollment period ends three months after your birthday month.
If you sign up before your birthday, your Medicare coverage will start on the first of the month when you turn 65. If you sign up during your birthday month or the three months afterward, your coverage will start the first of the month after you enroll.
Itâs important to sign up for Medicare when you first become eligible because youâll avoid any late-enrollment penalties. The penalties are not a one-time charge. Instead, itâs a recurring fee, and the longer you go without Medicare, the higher your penalty. For example, if you sign up for Medicare Part B one year late, you could pay an extra $15 per month.
Medicare Eligibility Calculator
Your initial enrollment period based on your age is
Note that your enrollment period may differ if you currently have a disability or have certain medical conditions.
What can you do during initial enrollment?
During your Medicare initial enrollment period, you can sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D. When you turn 65, you’ll also be able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, but these enrollment dates are slightly different.
Top three considerations when signing up for Medicare
How Many Times Can I Change My Medicare Plan During Open Enrollment
During this period you can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan or switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare. There is generally no limit on how many times you can switch Medicare Advantage plans if you do it during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
Also Check: What Is New With Medicare