You can switch your Medicare plan once a year. So if you enroll in a Medicare plan today and a few months from now you discover it does not meet all of your needs, relax, you’re not locked in forever.
If you decide you want to switch plans, in most cases you will need to wait until the next Annual Election Period (AEP). AEP starts on October 15th and ends December 7th, so be sure to mark these dates on your calendar.
During the AEP, also known as Medicare open enrollment, you can add, drop or modify your Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. This is the only time of the year when you can make a general modification.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the AEP, you have until February 14th of the following year to change your mind and return to Original Medicare. If your Medicare Advantage plan included prescription drug coverage, you can switch to a Medicare Part D plan.
The general rule is that you can change your coverage only during the AEP. There are some exceptions to this rule.
There are a few cases that give you the opportunity to modify your coverage without waiting until the next AEP. The most common exception is a Medicare Advantage plan change if you move and your plan does not operate in the new service area.
If a change in your circumstance will cause you to be without coverage, don’t wait until the next AEP to make a change. Call your Medicare agent and ask for assistance modifying your Medicare Advantage plan.