Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) just ended on December 7. So what happens if you decide you need to change your plan later? Are you stuck with it until next October, when AEP opens back up again?
That depends upon which type of plan you have, and how your needs change. But in many cases, yes, you can make changes to your Medicare plan at other times of the year.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 until March 31.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can make certain changes during the Open Enrollment Period beginning January 1. If you decide that your current plan doesn’t fit you quite right, you can switch into another Medicare Advantage plan that better suits your needs or preferences. You can also drop the plan and go back to Original Medicare. If you take that course of action, you can add a Part D (prescription) plan to your Original Medicare.
However, those enrolled in Original Medicare can’t do anything during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment.
You can qualify for Special Enrollment Periods throughout the year.
If you qualify due to certain life circumstances, you could be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period at any point during the year. For example, if you move to a different coverage area, you can compare and change plans. Other circumstances, such as losing your current plan, your current plan changes its contract with Medicare, or you become eligible for employer-sponsored coverage can also serve as qualifying events.
In fact, many circumstances can qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period, so when in doubt, ask! Call one of our Medicare specialists to discuss your changing needs, and we can help you determine if you are eligible to make changes to your Medicare plan outside of AEP or OEP.