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  • October 29, 2020
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Making Medicare Plan Changes

Just like many other things in life sometimes we need a change. Your healthcare plan is no different. You may have found yourself in a situation where your Medicare plan no longer fits your needs or you may have found you need a little more coverage than you originally thought. That’s okay. Changing your Medicare plan is easy. Keep reading to find out when is the best time to make Medicare plan changes.

Common Reasons to Make Medicare Plan Changes

  • Cost of Coverage: increases in premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses may no longer work for your budget.
  • Change in Needs: your healthcare needs can change from year to year and sometimes the coverage you have is no longer the best option for you.
  • Plan Changes: Medicare plans can also change from year to year. After reviewing your annual notice of change letter, you may find your plan changes cause benefits to lose ground compared to other plans or increase out-of-pocket costs: benefits can fall behind other plans, new drug formularies can increase your copays at the drug store.
  • Changes in Eligibility: if you have experienced a reduction in your income in the last year, you may be eligible for Medicaid.  Change in eligibility can also apply to health. For example in some cases, those diagnosed with end-stage renal disease are ineligible for Medicare Advantage plans

When is the Best Time to Make Medicare Plan Changes?

Making Medicare plan changes is easy. Depending on your current coverage or unique situation, there are specific time frames in which you can make changes to your current Medicare health plan.

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

The Medicare annual enrollment period happens every year from October 15th through December 7th.  During this time frame, Medicare beneficiaries are able to make changes to their existing coverage.  The following Medicare plan changes can be made during AEP:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
  • Enroll in Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan)
  • Disenroll from Medicare Part D
  • Switch from one Part D plan to another

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Advantage open enrollment period runs from January 1st – March 31st each year. During this time frame, those who signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the annual enrollment period can make changes to their coverage. Here are the changes you can make:

  • Disenroll in Medicare Advantage and enroll in Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Enroll in a Part D plan if you are leaving a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage

Special Enrollment Period

There are also specific special circumstances that allow Medicare beneficiaries to make changes to their health plan outside of a standard enrollment period. This is called a special enrollment period (SEP). For example, those who chose to work past 65 and delay enrollment in Medicare will have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare during a SEP once they’ve left their employer’s health coverage. Other examples include:

  • Moving out of your Medicare plan’s coverage area
  • Qualifying for Extra Help
  • Your plan changes its contract with Medicare

 


Are you considering making changes to your current Medicare Coverage? We can help!

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