What you should know:
Certain times of the year, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can only change Medicare Advantage Plan options (SEP).
In the initial enrollment period, open enrollment, or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment, anyone can switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
It’s Open Enrollment time again, which runs from October 15th through December 7th every single year. In-Patient Medical Insurance During each year’s Open Enrollment period, which runs from January 1 to March 31.
Your Medicare Advantage Plan can be changed within two months of qualifying for a SEP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there will be 3,834 Medicare Advantage plans available in the United States in 2022. The average Medicare recipient has the option of selecting from 33 different plans. As a result, it might be difficult to determine which plan is best for you. Changes to Medicare Advantage plans are simple: When you switch to a new health insurance plan, your old one will be automatically terminated. The bad news is that you can only alter your Medicare Advantage Plan at specified periods of the year. In order to participate in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.
Can you switch Medicare Advantage plans anytime?
Changing Medicare Advantage plans is not possible at any point in time. A Medicare Advantage Plan can only be changed three times a year during the open enrollment period. First, you must enroll in an MA plan during the Initial Enrollment Period. This is your one opportunity to do so.
Unless you qualify for Medicare based on disability, your initial enrollment period normally lasts for seven months, beginning three months before the month in which you turn 65 and ending three months after the month in which you turn 65. After your 25th month of receiving disability benefits, your Initial Enrollment Period expires 3 months after your 25th month of getting disability benefits.
Dworetsky Financial founder Matt Dworetsky explains that throughout these seven months you can make whatever modifications you need to your plan elections. If you sign up for Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period, you’ll be able to make adjustments to your coverage at any point within the first three months.
Next, you can switch plans during open enrollment, which is held in the fall or at the beginning of each year for Medicare Advantage, according to Dworetsky.
Every year, from October 15th through December 7th, is Medicare Open Enrollment. Cynthia Pruemm, an investment advisor, founder and CEO of SIS Financial Group in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, explains that if you already have Medicare Part A and enroll in Part B during Open Enrollment, you can join a Medicare Advantage Plan. When it comes to enrollment, this is known as the general enrollment window.
Annual open enrollment for Medicare Advantage Plans occurs from January 1 through March 31 of each year. In this period, you can convert from one type of Medicare Advantage Plan (MA Plan) to another type of Medicare Advantage Plan (MA Plan).
Can you change my Medicare Advantage plan after open enrollment?
Once open enrollment expires, “in general you cannot make adjustments until the next enrollment period,” says Joe Boden, vice president and partner at EP Wealth Advisors in Seattle. You can, however, make changes or withdraw from your plan outside of the enrollment periods in a few rare cases.
An exception to the normal enrollment period may be granted if certain conditions are met (SEP). First-time enrollees in a Medicare Advantage Plan may be given a 12-month trial period after enrolling in the MA Plan in which they can return to Original Medicare and drop their Medigap policy.
“Another exception is if your Advantage plan quits your healthcare provider,” Boden explains. “Also, if you relocate and your plan does not have coverage in your new area, you can change plans.” There is no limit to the number of plans you can switch to if you move to a new location that is within the coverage area of your existing plan. You have from one month before your move until 2 months after your move to switch plans.
When can you disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Disenrollment from a Medicare Advantage Plan is only permitted at certain times of the year.
“You can disenroll from your plan during the annual election period, special election periods, or during the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period,” Henry says. “Medicare will automatically disenroll you from your old plan if you switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan during any of these periods.”
What happens if you need to change plans during a period you cannot change plans?
In order to change Medicare Advantage plans outside of the usual annual enrollment periods, you must meet the criteria for a Special Enrollment Period. SEPs that allow you to switch Medicare Advantage plans include, but are not limited to, the following:
Exiting the coverage area of your current plan.
Your current service region but with new plan alternatives if you move to a different location.
Moving into or out of a long-term care institution or a skilled nursing facility (SNF).
Medicare and Medicaid are both available to you.
Getting kicked out of the Medicaid program.
If you have an issue with your current plan and Medicare takes action, you will be affected.
Your current plan’s contract will be terminated or renewed if Medicare does not renew it.
Because of a blunder by a federal employee, you either joined or didn’t join a plan.
Medicare Advantage Plans can be changed during a SEP for a period of two months in most cases.
Click here for a comprehensive list of scenarios in which you may be eligible for a SEP: (Special Enrollment Periods).
Changing the Medicare Advantage Plans necessitated consulting these professionals for their advice.
One of EP Wealth Advisors’ partners in Seattle, Joe Boden, is a vice president and a partner.
Dworetsky Financial’s Matt Dworetsky, a Manalapan, New Jersey resident.
As a financial advisor in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Cynthia Pruemm is the founder and CEO of SIS Financial Group.
Medicare: Medicare Advantage Plans | Last accessed June 2022
KFF: Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look | Last accessed June 2022
Medicare: Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan | Last accessed June 2022
Medicare: Joining a health or drug plan | Last accessed June 2022
Medicare: Special circumstances (Special Enrollment Periods) | Last accessed June 2022