When Can I Switch Medicare Health Plans?
Annual Coordinated Election Period (November 15 - December 31)
Since new coverage begins on January 1st, the 45 days preceding that are when members can make changes to the medicare health plan to which they belong. This is the time when you can change your choice of health coverage. Your MSA (Medicare Medical Savings Account) is also up for change. Finally, you can add, drop or change your Medicare Drug Coverage during this period. It is recommended that you make the changes a few days before the deadline because if you miss the deadline, it will be another year before you can make desired changes. Also, do your homework. Seek out the option that best suits you and your personal situation.
Open Enrollment Period (January 1 - March 31)
Although you cannot add or drop Part D Medicare Drug Coverage during this period, there are other changes which can be made. For example, one switch could be switching from Medicare with Part D to Medicare Advantage with prescription drug coverage. Once you switch, the change will take effect the first month. For example, if you switch programs on February 18th, the change will take effect on March 1st.
There are a few occasions where you can change coverage at times during the year other than November 15th to March 31st.
• You move - if you leave the coverage area of your current Medicare health plan.
• You lose your personal insurance because you lose your job.
• You are a victim of marketing fraud.
For seniors and others who partake in Medicare, the choices are daunting and the rules exasperating and the most frequent question is when can someone switch to a different medicare health plan.