People With Medicare
Can I switch plans?
Most people are allowed to switch plans once a year. But if you receive Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug costs, you can switch plans as often as once a month.
Most people can switch plans only once a year
Once you are in a drug plan, generally you will not be able to switch. You will be "locked into" your plan until the next open enrollment period. The Open Enrollment period in 2013 runs from October 15 to December 7.
Are there special circumstances when I could switch plans at other times?
Yes. You can switch plans if
- you move out of the area your current plan serves or
- you enter, leave or live in a nursing home or
- your plan changes and no longer serves your area or
- you get Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug costs.
There are other special situations where you might be able to qualify for a "Special Enrollment Period" when you might be able to join or switch plans. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to learn more.Medicare Advantage Annual Disenrollment Period
Leaving a Medicare Advantage Plans:
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can leave it from January 1 to February 14 and get your Medicare Parts A and B through Original Medicare. You cannot join another Medicare Advantage plan during this time. If you want drug coverage, you may join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) during this time through what is called a Special Enrollment Period.
How do I join a new plan?
You can join a plan in the following ways:
- On Medicare's website. Use the Medicare.gov Plan Finder.
- On the plan's website. Visit the drug plan company’s website. You may be able to join online. (ALERT: If you join using the web, the plan must send you a bill. The plan cannot ask for payment at the time you join online.)
- By paper application. Contact the company offering the drug plan you choose and ask for an application. Once you fill out the form, mail or fax it back to the company.
For more information, consult your "Medicare & You 2013 Handbook." You can get it online at Medicare Publications or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227. TTY users, call 1-877-486-2048). Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or you can call SHIP or your local Area Agency on Aging.
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