Although Medicare Advantage Plans can fill the gaps in Medicare Part A and Part B, and in most cases provide additional coverage like prescription drugs, it always pays to review your plan every year so you can evaluate whether it’s still providing the best solutions for coverages, cost, and convenience. Here we’ll discuss how to change your Medicare Advantage Plan when it is no longer your best solution.
Open Enrollment Period
The key time each year to evaluate your Medicare Advantage Plan is during the annual Open Enrollment Period. During this time of the year you have the ability to do four important things:
- Change from Original Medicare Part A and Part B to Part C which is the Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch back from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.
- Enroll, cancel, or change a Part D prescription drug plan.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
Changing from Original Medicare to Part C – Medicare Advantage
If you are enrolled in Original Medicare and then decide a Medicare Advantage plan is a better solution, you can only make the change during specific time periods:
If you are new to Medicare
If you are new to Medicare, you would take advantage of the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) which is a seven month period when you are first eligible for Original Medicare. After you have enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you can simply choose to enroll in your selected Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).
Already enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B
If you have already enrolled in Original Medicare, the Open Enrollment Period will be between October 15th and December 7th, you can change from Original Medicare to your selected Medicare Advantage plan or from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare.
Am I allowed to change My Medicare Advantage Plan?
Yes, if decide you want to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan you currently have to another Medicare Advantage plan that is a better fit for you, you can do so each year during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Your OEP runs from October 15th to December 7th.
After you’ve selected a different Medicare Advantage plan, your coverage in the former plan will be automatically canceled once your new plan begins. You don’t even have to contact your former plan to disenroll.
Can I change from My Medicare Advantage Plan back to Medicare?
Yes, and there are two times a year when you can do this.
- You can change during the Open Enrollment Period which is October 15th to December 7th or
- You can make the change during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period which is Jan 1st to February 14th.
It’s important to note that during the Medicare Disenrollment Period you will have only until February 14th to select and purchase a Part D prescription drug plan.
Can I change from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement?
This situation is a little more difficult if you expect not to be subject to medical underwriting when you make the change.
If you purchased Medicare Advantage when you initially were eligible for Original Medicare and you are not satisfied with your coverage, you will have special rights to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy if you return to Original Medicare coverage within twelve months of purchasing your Medicare Advantage plan.
If you decide to move to another state or another part of your state that your Medicare Advantage plan doesn’t serve, you have special rights to go back to Original Medicare and then purchase a Medicare Supplement plan.
Typically, if the above-mentioned scenarios do not apply in your situation, you can purchase Medicare Supplement insurance that will be subject to medical underwriting.
What if I Change to a Medicare Supplement Plan but I’m not satisfied with It?
There are several reasons that you might decide to change your Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. You might be unhappy with a price change or you find that plan you selected no longer offers the coverage you need because of new health issues you’ve developed.
Typically, you won’t have rights under the law to change Medicare Supplement policies unless you qualify for a specific circumstance or guaranteed issue right or you are within the six-month Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
Can I go back to a Medicare Advantage Plan if I don’t like Medigap?
Yes, but if you want a Medicare Advantage Plan when you have a Medicare Supplement policy, you’ll likely want to cancel your Medicare Supplement because the two products cannot work together. It’s also important to note that if you change back to a Medicare Advantage plan after you’ve changed to a Medicare Supplement policy, you might be subject to medical underwriting which could lead to higher insurance rates.