Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Lets You Switch Plans

The annual period runs from Jan. 1 to March 31.

You have the opportunity to cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan if you are unhappy with it. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period opened January 1.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can take any of these actions during this time period that ends March 31.

This open enrollment period doesn’t apply to you if you don’t already have a Medicare Advantage plan. You can’t do any of these steps, for instance:

  • You can move from Original Medicare to a Medicare Supplement Plan.
  • Join a Medicare drug plan if you have Original Medicare.
  • If you have Original Medicare, you can move from one Medicare drug plan into another.

Switching is a smart move.

You might switch from your existing Medicare Advantage Plan to one of these reasons:

  • Lower prescription costs: There are many differences in Medicare Advantage Plans. The cost of prescription drugs varies from one plan to the next. It’s worthwhile to compare prices between different plans if you are taking any maintenance medication. Martha Gonzales, founder and CEO of CHM Insurance Services, says that one medication can make a huge difference in your overall drug costs. I can make totally different recommendations if I have a husband or wife in front of me.
  • Lower copays: Prescription costs can be comparable if they are lower. Consider how often you visit a specialist or doctor each year.
  • Gonzales: Doctors in network: Occasionally, people may choose a plan without knowing if their doctor is part of the network during Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct.15 to Dec.7). They have the opportunity to rectify their mistakes during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment.
  • You get better benefits: Medicare Advantage Plans often offer more benefits like vision, hearing, and dental coverage. However, coverage will vary from one plan to the next and your specific needs will determine which plan is best for you. Do some research if you suspect that you might need hearing aids in the coming year. Gonzales states that hearing aids are “expensive” items. Gonzales says that if your plan doesn’t offer hearing aid coverage, it can be motivating.

The Medicare Plan Finder is a great place to start shopping for Medicare Advantage Plans. You can also enter the name, dosage and frequency of every drug you use regularly and the pharmacy where prescriptions are filled. Filter plans by available benefits, plan type, insurance carrier, drug coverage options and star rating.