Can I Change Medicare Advantage Plans Anytime?

Mike Olmos by Mike Olmos | Licensed since 2010

This article was updated on: 11/23/2018

Thinking about changing Medicare Advantage plans? Maybe you’ve been comparing Medicare Advantage plans and discovered one that works better for you.

Why change Medicare Advantage plans?

Medicare Advantage plans deliver your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits through a private insurance company that contracts with Medicare. How different can they be?

Medicare Advantage plans can be different in many ways. Here are just a few.

  • Many – but not all – Medicare Advantage plans cover prescription drugs.
  • Some Medicare Advantage plans give you extra benefits, like routine dental or hearing care.
  • Some plans may require you to use doctors in the plan’s provider network, or pay more if you go outside the network.
  • Premiums vary among plans. So do other costs, like deductibles and coinsurance.

Can I change Medicare Advantage plans anytime?

You can generally change Medicare Advantage plans only during certain enrollment periods. Here’s a list of the main enrollment periods for changing Medicare Advantage plans.

  • The Annual Election Period (AEP), also called Fall Open Enrollment, October 15 – December 7 every year.
  • The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, January 1 – March 31 every year, starting in 2019.
  • The 5-Star Special Enrollment Period. You can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan with a 5-star rating between December 8 one year and November 30 the next year. Read more about the 5-star special enrollment period.
  • Other Special Enrollment Periods, if applicable. You might be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period in some cases – for example, if you move out of your plan’s service area.

You may be able to make other coverage changes during some of these enrollment periods.

Changing Medicare Advantage plans: compare plans before you switch

If you want to change Medicare Advantage plans, you may want to make sure you’re choosing the right plan for your needs and not missing out on a plan that might be better for you. For an instant side-by-side look at Medicare Advantage plans in your area, start by entering your zip code in the box on this page.

From the list of plans displayed, you can enter your medications to see if they’re covered, look at specific plan costs, and more. Follow the links below to request an email with customized information, or to set up a phone call with me.

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