Key Takeaways

  • If you’re a Medicare Advantage user, you can make changes outside the Annual Election Period (October 15 - December 7).

  • The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 - March 31 each year.

  • During this timeframe, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or to Original Medicare.

Should I switch Medicare plans? Is it too late to change Medicare plans?

For Medicare Advantage (Part C) users, questions like these are common. Your healthcare requirements are likely to change over time. That’s why it’s important to review your plan each year to ensure it still meets your needs.

So, when can you enroll in or change Medicare plans? The answer is during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). There are two types of MA OEPs: Annual and Individual.

When is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

As long as you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan on January 1, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period gives you an additional opportunity to change plans outside the Annual Election Period (October 15 – December 7).The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year.

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If you’re a new Medicare beneficiary who has Medicare Part A and Part B, and you enrolled in an MA plan during your initial coverage election period, you can also participate in an individualized Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. You have a three-month period during which you can switch plans.

Both the annual and the individual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period allow Medicare beneficiaries already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan a one-time election to either:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan, OR
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare with or without a Part D prescription drug plan.

This enrollment period does not allow for Part D changes for individuals enrolled in Original Medicare. Changes to your enrollment will take effect on the first of the month following the month you enroll. For example, if you switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan on January 15, coverage will take effect on February 1.

Get unbiased, no-cost Medicare assistance

If you’re wondering, “Which type of care is not covered by Medicare?” or “Does Medicare pay for prescriptions?”, we’re here to help:

  1. Take our Questionnaire and get free professional counseling by a licensed benefits advisor from one of our trusted partners that meet NCOA's Standards of Excellence.
  2. Get connected with an unbiased expert who can walk you through your options. 

Once a plan is chosen that fits your needs, you will need to inform your physician and other healthcare providers of the new coverage.