While you can’t change your Medicare Advantage plan at any time, there are a few opportunities for when you can. Learn more about the three main enrollment periods where you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan.
Three Enrollment Periods to Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan
You can enroll in a different Medicare Advantage plan or switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage during the following enrollment periods:
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (Fall Open Enrollment Period)
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) gives Medicare beneficiaries the chance to evaluate their current coverage and make changes. This enrollment period runs from October 15-December 7 each year, and during this period, Medicare recipients can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan. You can also switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug plan to another or add a Medicare Part D plan if you didn’t enroll when first eligible for Medicare. Any changes made during this period will take effect on January 1 of the following year.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period—which runs from January 1-March 31 each year—is a chance for Medicare Advantage participants to make a one-time plan change. This change can be switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or dropping a Medicare Advantage plan and returning to Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage participants can also sign up for a stand-alone Part D plan at this time if electing to return to an Original Medicare plan.
Medicare Special Enrollment Period
The Medicare Special Enrollment Period goes into effect when certain events or life changes take place, giving you the opportunity to make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare Prescription Drug plan. There are several types of Medicare Special Enrollment Periods with different qualification standards for each. Some of the most common Special Enrollment Period events for Medicare Advantage include:
- Moving to a new address that isn’t in your current Medicare plan’s service area
- Moving to a new location where new Medicare plan options are available
- Returning to the U.S. after living outside the country
- Moving in or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital
- Being released from jail
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