If you signed up for a Medicare plan that’s no longer meeting your needs, there are times during the year that will allow you to make changes to your coverage. Let’s go over some of the enrollment periods that may give you an opportunity to switch plans and get the Medicare benefits that are right for you.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
During the OEP, between October 15 and December 7 each year, you will have an opportunity to make a switch to another plan. You can choose to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, change from one MA plan to another, switch Prescription Drug Plans, or drop your MA plan and revert back to Original Medicare (and enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan at this time.). If you make a change during OEP, your new coverage will go into effect on January 1.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA-OEP)
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, you may make one change to another plan during the MA-OEP, from January 1 through March 31. If you find a plan that offers you more Medicare benefits for a lower cost, you can change plans once during this period.
5-Star Special Enrollment Period
Between December 8 and November 30, you can switch to a Medicare plan with a 5-star rating if one is available in your area. You can only use this opportunity one time.
Qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period
You may also be able to change your plan during a Special Enrollment Period if you are eligible for one. When special circumstances necessitate a change in your coverage, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. For example, if you move and your current plan does not apply to providers in your area, you may be able to sign up for a different plan. Or, if your provider’s contract with Medicare changes, you lose your current coverage, or you become dual-eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you may be able to take advantage of a Special Enrollment Period.