Each year, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make changes to their plans during Annual Enrollment from October 15 to December 7. Now that December 7 has passed, we occasionally hear from clients who are wondering what to do. “Oops, I missed Medicare Annual Enrollment,” they tell us. “What do I do now?”
Fortunately, you’re not necessarily stuck in a plan that isn’t just right for you. There are several courses of action you can take now, depending upon your circumstances.
Make changes during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment. Annual Enrollment and Open Enrollment are often confused for one another, but they serve two different purposes. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can participate in the Open Enrollment period between January 1 and March 31. During this time, you can switch from one Advantage plan to another Advantage plan, or drop Advantage and go back to Original Medicare.
Unfortunately, you can’t switch from Original Medicare to an Advantage plan at this time.
But before you drop your Advantage plan, consider your network of providers (which you might lose if you drop Advantage). You also won’t benefit from the out-of-pocket spending cap anymore, because Original Medicare does not have that feature.
Enroll in a five-star Medicare plan. Each fall, Medicare plans are reviewed and rated. If you’re not currently enrolled in a five-star plan, you can switch to one between December 8 and November 30. But you can only switch once, and you must choose a five-star Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Cost plan, or Medicare Prescription Drug plan.
Take advantage of the Medicare Special Enrollment Period. If you experience certain life changes, such as a move or contract change, you can take advantage of a Special Enrollment Period and change your plan. A list of qualifying events can be found here.
Any time you find yourself dissatisfied with your Medicare plan, please do give us a call. We can assess your situation and help you determine whether you are eligible for any of the above opportunities to make changes to your plan.