When you work with a trusted partner to find the right plan for you, you will be on a plan that meets all of your coverage and budgetary needs. Sometimes, though, things change, and the plan you selected is no longer working for you. If this happens to you, it’s good to know what your options are—and how to prevent choosing the wrong plan again.
Options for Switching Plans
Generally, the plan you have when Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) ends on December 7, that’s the plan you keep for the coming year. There are two instances in which you can change plans throughout the year.
- Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period: If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan during AEP, which runs from October 15 through December 7 every year, and you decide you do not like your plan, you’re in luck. There is a special period from January 1 through February 14 called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period during which you can cancel your coverage. Please note: you cannot switch MA plans—you can only cancel your current plan. When you cancel, you are enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A & B).
- Special Enrollment Periods: For individuals who experience specific life changes that impact their health coverage, there is a period of time called a Special Enrollment Period. During this time, it is possible to drop, change, switch, and enroll in plans outside of AEP. You must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, and situations that may qualify you include:
- Moving outside your current plan’s service area
- Moving within your plan’s service area, but new plan options are available to you in your new location
- Moving in or out of a facility or care center
- Leaving individual, union, or COBRA coverage
- Losing drug coverage on important medications prescribed by your doctor
- Your current plan exits your market
There are other very specific circumstances that may enable you to switch plans outside of AEP and the scenarios listed above, including:
- Disenrollment from your Medicare Advantage plan. Beginning in January, there is a period of six weeks called the ‘Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period’ There is a special period from January 1 through February 14 called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period during which you can cancel your coverage. Please note: you cannot switch MA plans—you can only cancel your current plan. When you cancel, you are enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A & B).
- Follow the Stars. Medicare has a system of rating and reviewing plans called the Five Star system, and every year before Open Enrollment, Medicare updates its ratings. If you are currently on a plan that is not rated five stars, you may switch to a five-star Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan. You may only do this one time between December 8, 2017, and November 30, 2018.
Before you throw in the towel and stick with a plan you don’t like for an entire year, give Vince Homan Insurance a call! We can review your options together and make a plan that will work for you.