When Can I Change Medicare Advantage Plans in 2017?

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When Can I Change Medicare Advantage Plans?

Couple Changing Medicare Advantage PlansYou can change from one Medicare Advantage (MA) plan to another each year during the Open Enrollment Period, from October 15 to December 7. You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which allows you to change plans other times during the year.

When Else Can You Change From One MA Plan to Another?

The Open Enrollment Period may not be the only time that you are allowed to switch Medicare Advantage plans. You can also leave your MA Plan, also referred to as Part C, and return to Part A and Part B during the Advantage Disenrollment Period, each year from January 1 to February 14 every year.

If you are experiencing special circumstances in your life related to your healthcare coverage, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. During this period, you will be allowed to make changes to your plan outside of Open Enrollment.

Let’s take a look at which events allow you to switch plans, the type of changes you can make when you are experiencing these events and the rules about when you can make changes.

Special Enrollment Periods that Allow You to Switch Plans

You move addresses

If you move to a new address that isn’t in your plan’s service area, you can change to a new plan during the follow times:

  • If you tell your plan that you are moving in advance, you have until two months after you move to make changes to your plan. That being said, your new plan can’t start until after your move date.
  • If you tell your plan after you move, you have the month that you tell your plan and two additional months.

If you move to a new address that is still located in your plan’s service area, but your plan has new options in your new location, you can switch to a different plan during the follow times:

  • From the month before the month you move to two months afterwards, as long as you tell your plan that you are moving in advance.
  • The month that you tell your plan and the two months afterwards, if you wait to tell your plan until after you move.

If you moved into, currently live in, or recently moved out of an institution (including a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital), you will be able to switch to a different plan during the following times:

  • While you are still living in the institution and during the two months after the month that you move out of it.

You lose coverage

If you no longer qualify for Medicaid, you can switch to another plan during the following times:

  • Up until two months after the month you find out that you no longer qualify for Medicaid.
  • If you find out that you are losing coverage next year, you can change plans from January 1 to March 31.

Your plan’s contract changes

If Medicare takes an official action (or sanction) against your plan because of a problem that affects you, you may be able to switch plans.

  • Medicare will determine when you can change plans.

If your plans contract ends, you can change plans during the following times:

  • The month before your contract ends and the two months afterwards.

If your plan’s contract isn’t renewed, you can change to another plan during the following times:

  • From December 8 to the last day in February.

Other Special Enrollment Periods

If you are dual eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you can switch plans anytime.

If you joined a plan, or decided not to join a plan, because of an error made by a federal employee, you can change your current MA Plan to one that includes prescription drug coverage during the following times:

  • The two months after the month that you get a notice of error.

Deciding to switch from one MA plan to another can be a stressful and complicated decision. Let us help you find the plan that may work for you.  Use our Suggest a Plan tool for your recommendation.

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