Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) is happening right now, and hopefully you’re taking advantage of this opportunity to evaluate your Medicare plan and make any necessary changes. But what happens if you determine that changes are necessary after AEP is over? Can you make these changes at any other time of year?
Depending upon the situation, yes, there are other times that you can make changes to your Medicare plan.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, the open enrollment period at the beginning of the year will allow you to make certain changes. From January 1 through March 31, you can change from one Advantage plan to another, or drop your Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare. However, you cannot opt out of Original Medicare and into a Medicare Advantage plan at this time.
Otherwise, you need to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period in order to make changes to your Medicare plan outside of these enrollment periods. You can do so if you experience certain changes to your circumstances, such as:
- You move out of your plan’s service area
- You move within your plan’s service area, but the move opens up more options
- Your Advantage plan ends service in your area
- You lose creditable coverage on certain prescription medications
- You leave another form of healthcare coverage such as individual, union, or COBRA plans
- You move into, or out of, a nursing facility
- And certain other changes
For a full list of circumstances that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period, speak to a Licensed insurance agent. Once qualified for a Special Enrollment Period, you have two months to make the necessary changes to your plan.