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CAN I CHANGE MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS ANYTIME?

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What you should know:

  1. If you do not meet the requirements for a Special Enrollment Period, you may only switch Medicare Advantage Plans during specific times of the year (SEP).
  2. During their Initial Enrollment Period, Open Enrollment, or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment, anyone can modify their Medicare Advantage Plan.
  3. Every year, from October 15 to December 7, there is an open enrollment period. Medicare Preferential Every year, Open Enrollment runs from January 1 through March 31.
  4. You typically have two months to make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan if you are eligible for a SEP.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there will be 3,834 Medicare Advantage Plans offered countrywide in 2022. The typical Medicare beneficiary has 33 different options from which to select. This can make it difficult to choose the best plan for you. The good news is that it’s simple to switch Medicare Advantage Plans: You can easily leave your old plan by simply enrolling in a new one. The bad news is that you can only switch your Medicare Advantage Plan during specific times of the year. To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B.

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Can you switch Medicare Advantage plans anytime?

Medicare Advantage plans cannot be changed at any time. Only three enrollment periods are available for changing a Medicare Advantage Plan. After your initial enrollment in an MA Plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, you will have your first opportunity.

Unless you qualify for Medicare based on a disability, your initial enrollment period typically lasts for 7 months, from 3 months before the month you turn 65 to 3 months following the month you turn 65. In this situation, your initial enrollment period begins three months before the 25th month that you have been receiving disability payments and ends three months after that.

You have seven months to make any necessary adjustments to your plan elections, according to Matt Dworetsky, founder of Manalapan, New Jersey-based Dworetsky Financial. You can alter your enrollment at any point within the first three months of your Medicare coverage if you do so during your initial enrollment period.

After that, you can change plans during the fall open enrollment period or the annual Medicare Advantage open enrollment period, according to Dworetsky.

Every year, from October 15 to December 7, is Medicare Open Enrollment. According to Cynthia Pruemm, an investment advisor and the founder and CEO of SIS Financial Group in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, if you already have Medicare Part A and enrol in Part B for the first time during Open Enrollment, you are eligible to join a Medicare Advantage Plan. The General Enrollment Period is this time period.

The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period, which is only for Medicare Advantage Plans, runs from January 1 through March 31. During this time, if you’re currently enrolled in an MA Plan, you can change to another MA Plan or to Original Medicare.

Can you change my Medicare Advantage plan after open enrollment?

According to Joe Boden, vice president and partner of EP Wealth Advisors in Seattle, “once the open enrollment finishes, in general you will not be able to make adjustments until the next enrollment period.” There are a few instances, nevertheless, in which you can alter or drop your plan outside of the enrollment periods.

You can be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period if certain things happen (SEP). For instance, you have a 12-month trial period after enrolling in the MA Plan in which you can cancel your MA Plan and switch back to Original Medicare if this is your first time ever participating in a Medicare Advantage Plan and you gave up a Medigap coverage to join.

Another exception, according to Boden, is if your Advantage plan terminates your healthcare provider. Additionally, you can switch plans if you move and your current plan does not provide coverage in your new area. Though your relocation made you eligible for new alternatives that weren’t available at your previous address, you can switch to a different plan even if your new address is within the service area of your current one. You can change your mind about your plans from one month prior to your move until two months following it.

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When can you disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan?

You can only disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan at specific times of the year, much like when you switch Medicare Advantage Plans.

According to Dworetsky, “You may opt out of your plan at any time throughout the annual election period, special election periods, or the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.” If you switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan during any of these times, Medicare will automatically deregister you from your previous plan.

What happens if you need to change plans during a period you cannot change plans?

Only those who meet the requirements for a Special Enrollment Period may switch Medicare Advantage Plans outside of the regular annual enrollment windows. When changing Medicare Advantage Plans, SEPs may, but are not restricted to:

  • Leaving the coverage area of your existing plan.
  • relocating to a new address that is still within the coverage region of your existing plan but offers new plan choices.
  • transitioning into or out of long-term hospital care or a skilled nursing facility.
  • Medicaid and Medicare are both options open to you.
  • losing Medicaid eligibility
  • In the event that Medicare takes formal action as a result of an issue with your current plan that has an impact on you.
  • if the agreement between Medicare and your existing plan expires or is not renewed.
  • Due to a mistake made by a federal employee, you either joined a plan or decided not to join one.

During a SEP, you typically have two months to modify your Medicare Advantage Plan.

Click here for a comprehensive overview of the special circumstances that make you eligible for a SEP (Special Enrollment Periods).

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Featured Experts

In order to get advice on changing Medicare Advantage Plans, these professionals were approached.

  • Joe Boden, a partner and vice president of EP Wealth Advisors, works in the company’s Seattle branch.
  • Dworetsky Financial was established by Matt Dworetsky in Manalapan, New Jersey.
  • Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based SIS Financial Group’s founder and CEO, Cynthia Pruemm, is an investment advisor.

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