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When Can I Change My Medicare Plan?

The timeframe that you have to change your Medicare plan varies depending on what type of plan you have, and what type of plan you are looking to get. In general, if you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you can apply to switch from one Medigap plan to another at any time of the year. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll most likely need to wait until the Annual Election Period or the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.  

When Can I Change My Medicare Advantage Plan?

There are two periods when most people can make changes to their Medicare Advantage plans. They are the Annual Election Period, and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. (also known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period).

Can I Switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap?

You can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan during both the Annual Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, however, coverage isn’t necessarily guaranteed. You’ll most likely need to answer medical questions as part of this process, and can carriers choose to approve or decline your application.

Carriers often get extremely busy this time of year, and approval can take weeks. It’s important to start the application process as soon as possible, so you can receive your approval before the Annual Election Period or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period ends. This way, if your application is declined, you still have time to apply with another carrier.

When is the Annual Enrollment Period, and What Can I Change?

The Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15th– December 7.

During this time you can:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Leave your Medicare Advantage plan and apply for a Medicare Supplement plan
  • Pick up or switch your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan

When is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, and What Can I Do?

 In 2020, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, also known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, runs from January 1st – March 31st. It’s very similar to the Annual Enrollment Period.

 During the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, you can:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Leave your Medicare Advantage plan and apply for a Medicare Supplement plan
  • Pick up a Part D Prescription Drug plan, but not make changes to an existing plan

When Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan

When you have a Medicare Supplement, you can apply to another Medigap plan at any time of the year. Switching Medigap carriers can help you save money on your premiums, so it’s important to shop your rates regularly.

In most cases, you’ll need to answer medical questions as part of the application process. This means that while you can apply for coverage at any time of the year, the carrier can choose to accept or deny your application. Because of this, we recommend you keep your current insurance in place until you’ve received your approval.

There are some exceptions to this rule, called guaranteed issue rights. Guaranteed issue rights include situations such as:

  • You live in California or Oregon, and are applying for a Medigap plan of equal or lesser value around your birthday
  • You live in Missouri, and are applying for a Medigap plan of equal or lesser value around your policy’s anniversary
  • You live in New York, Connecticut, Washington or Maine

These are only a few examples of guaranteed issue rights. Most of these rights only apply if you currently have a Medicare Supplement, and don’t cover people with Medicare Advantage plans that are looking to switch to one.

In order to change from a Medicare Supplement plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll most likely need to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

In Conclusion

Your opportunity to change your Medicare plan will vary based on the kind of coverage that you have, and the kind of coverage that you’re looking for.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, or would like to get one, you have two time periods where you can make changes to your coverage. With a Medicare Supplement, you can apply to change at any time.

Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

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