Make time to review your Medicare coverage once a year to see if it still meets your needs. You can switch plans each year. Here’s how.
Counting optional add-ons, there are seven possible combinations of Medicare coverage. As a general rule, you can only switch from one combination to another at certain times of the year.
During the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7, you can add, drop or change your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. This is the only time of the year when you can do this, unless you qualify for an exception. In this period you can also join or change your Medicare Advantage plan.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7, you have until February 14 of the following year to change your mind and disenroll if necessary. If you disenroll, you will return to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) only. If prescription drug coverage was included in your Medicare Advantage plan, you will be able to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan during this time.
There are some exceptions to the general rule that you can change your coverage only at certain times of the year.
In some cases you will have the right to change your coverage without waiting until the next Annual Enrollment Period.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, for example, and you move out of your plan’s service area, you will have a chance to change your coverage without waiting for the next Annual Enrollment Period.
If your circumstances change, don’t assume you must wait until the next Annual Enrollment Period. Call the Medicare Helpline and ask about exceptions to the timing rules that might apply to you.