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How to Switch Medicare Advantage Plans
Switching between one Medicare Advantage plan to another, can be done yearly during the Annual Election/Open Enrollment Period, which runs October 15 to December 7 and the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs January 1 – March 31 every year. If new to Medicare, it’s possible to switch MA plans during an individualized Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period that runs during the first 3 months of Medicare enrollment. There is also the opportunity to switch plans during a Special Enrollment Period based on the plans star rating.
Once a new plan is selected, disenrollment from the old plan occurs automatically when the new plan’s coverage begins.
Changing from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
There are only a few times during the year when a switch from Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare can occur:
During the Annual Election/Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7)
During the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1 – March 31)
During an individual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (during the first 3 months of enrollment in Medicare Part A and B)
During the Open Enrollment Period, a switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans can occur. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs January 1 to March 31 offer the opportunity to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare. Coverage starts on the 1st day of the month after the month in which coverage was switched.
Switching from Medicare Advantage to Medigap
There are generally only a few situations that allow you to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and select a Medigap plan without being subject to medical underwriting.
If enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan when first eligible for Medicare and unsatisfied with the plan, there are special rights that allow the purchase of a Medigap policy within 12 months of enrollment from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans also allow enrollment in Medigap if there is a move and the plan does not serve that area. If previously enrolled in a Medigap policy and trying switching back after a period of enrollment in a MA, the same Medigap policy might not be available and in some cases inability to enroll unless there is a “trial right” or “guaranteed issue” right.