Can I switch Medicare plans?

The only thing that’s certain is change.   The biggest fear most individuals have when choosing a Medicare Supplemental, Part D, or Advantage plan is whether they’ve made the right decision.  

So what if things do change or your plan no longer suits you?  Here’s the answer to the timeless question “Can I switch Medicare plans?”

Advantage to Advantage

Each year from October 15 to December 7 (Annual Enrollment Period), anyone can switch from one Advantage plan to another.   You can switch between different plans within the same company or to a plan from another company, no questions asked. The new plan takes effect for January 1st of the following year. 

Part D to Part D

Same with Advantage plans, individuals on stand alone Part D plans can switch between plans with no questions asked between October 15 and December 7th.

Advantage to Supplemental + Part D

This gets a little tricky.  Anyone can switch from an Advantage plan to a Part D prescription plan between October 15 and December 7th with no questions asked but if you’re beyond your 6 month guarantee issue period for Supplemental plans in most states, you run the risk of being denied or having to pay higher rates due to enrollment restrictions or being unhealthy.    

Special Enrollment Periods

Special circumstances such as (but not limited to) moving outside the service area of a plan, your plan being terminated, qualifying for low-income subsidy or Medicaid allows you the option to change your plan during the year.  However, to see if you qualify for a special enrollment period, speak with a trusted agent, advisor, or social security/Medicare for more information.