Are you unhappy with your current Medicare Advantage plan? Would you just like to see if there is maybe a better one out there? Now is the time that you can change your Medicare Advantage plan for a new one. The current window to modify your coverage opened on January 1 and runs through March 31. You may have just picked or re-enrolled in your 2021 plan. You can switch or ditch it between January 1 and March 31. That is, you can swap your Advantage Plan for another. Or, you can drop it and return to basic Medicare (Part A hospital coverage and Part B outpatient coverage).
Why should I change?
According to an NBC interview with Danielle Roberts, co-founder of the insurance firm Boomer Benefits, the most common reasons that beneficiaries make changes include their doctors not being in the plan’s network or their coverage not including their medication.
Did you miss your initial Medicare enrollment period? Did you not qualify for an exception? You can sign up during this period. If this is your situation, coverage won’t start until July 1, said Elizabeth Gavino, founder of Lewin & Gavino and an independent broker and general agent for Medicare plans.
Of Medicare’s approximately 63 million beneficiaries, about 25 million are enrolled in an Advantage Plan. This delivers Parts A and B and usually Part D prescription drug coverage. It also comes with extras such as dental and vision.
The current opportunity to change or drop your Advantage Plan arrives just weeks after the close of Medicare’s annual fall enrollment when a variety of options were available for those who wanted to modify their coverage.
However, the current Advantage Plan-related window comes with some restrictions. For starters, you can only make one switch. This means that once you move to a different Advantage Plan or drop it for basic Medicare, the change is generally locked in for 2021 (unless you meet an exclusion that qualifies you for a special enrollment period).
Additionally, this three-month window does not allow you to switch from one stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan to another. If you picked a Part D plan in the fall, open enrollment period based on faulty or misleading information, you can call 1-800-Medicare at any point during the year to see if your situation would allow you to make a change.
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