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Can I Change My Medicare Advantage Plan Anytime?

There are more than 2,700 Medicare Advantage plans available in 2019, with a wide range of networks, benefits and costs.1

With so many options available – which can include $0 premium plans – you may want to consider how and when you can change Medicare Advantage plans.

There four different types of enrollment periods during which you can typically join, change, drop or switch Medicare Advantage plans. In this guide, we help you learn more about each of these types of Medicare enrollment periods.

A licensed insurance agent can also help you change your Medicare Advantage plan.

Find $0 Medicare Advantage plans in your area

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Or call TTY Users: 711 24/7 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

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Can you change Medicare Advantage plans during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)?

You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or change to another Medicare Advantage plan at any time during the first three months you are enrolled in Medicare.

When you first become eligible for Medicare, you’ll be given an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period lasts for seven months:

  • It begins three months before you turn 65 years old
  • It includes the month of your birthday
  • It continues for another three months after your birthday

If you are eligible for Medicare before age 65 due to a disability, your Medicare IEP also lasts for seven months:

  • It begins three months before your 25th month of receiving disability benefits (from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board)
  • It includes your 25th month of receiving disability benefits
  • It continues for three additional months after your 25th month getting disability benefits

Can you change your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP, also called the Annual Election Period) lasts from October 15 to December 7 every year.

During AEP, Medicare beneficiaries are allowed to review and make changes to their Medicare Advantage plan coverage for the upcoming year.

During AEP, you may:

  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from Original Medicare (Part A and/or Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
  • Enroll in, drop or change Medicare Part D prescription drug plans

Any plan changes you make during AEP in 2019 will take effect on January 1 of 2020.  

Can you change Medicare Advantage plans during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?

You could potentially qualify for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) at any time throughout the year, depending on your circumstances.

During a Special Enrollment Period, you can join, drop, switch or make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan due to your personal circumstances.

Any of the following events might qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period:

  • You move to a new address that is outside of your plan’s service area or where additional plan options are available

  • You move into or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital

  • You lose or obtain Medicaid eligibility

  • You involuntarily lose creditable drug coverage through no fault of your own

  • Your plan doesn’t renew its contract with Medicare

  • You’re diagnosed with a condition covered by a Special Needs Plan (Medicare SNP) or you lose your Special Needs Plan eligibility

  • You want to enroll in a five-star Medicare plan

These are just a few of the situations that may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Consult the official Medicare website to learn about more SEP qualifying life events.

The length of your Special Enrollment Period and the effective date of coverage changes you make may vary depending on your qualifying circumstances.

Can you change your Medicare Advantage plan during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment?

You can change your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. This enrollment period lasts from January 1 to March 31 each year, starting in 2019.

During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can do the following:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
  • If you change from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP)

Any changes you make to your Medicare Advantage plan during the Open Enrollment Period will go into effect on the first day of the following month.

Contact a licensed insurance agent for more help

You don’t have to navigate the process of changing your Medicare Advantage plan alone.

A licensed insurance agent can help you review the Medicare plan options available in your area and give you the information you need when you want to make a change.

 

Find Medicare Advantage plans in your area

Compare Plans

Or call TTY Users: 711 24/7 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.