How to Change Your Medicare Coverage

How to Change Your Medicare Coverage

Now that Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is over, you may be having doubts or concerns. Perhaps you didn’t make a change in your coverage and wish you had, or maybe you changed plans and you are second guessing your decision. Before you get too overwhelmed, there are a few things you can do that may help you find some peace of mind.

If you have questions regarding your current Medicare coverage, don’t hesitate to call a customer service representative at your plan. They may be able to answer questions you have or give you information that might help you settle in with your health insurance plan for the year ahead. In most cases, you generally can only make changes to your Medicare insurance coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period each year, between October 15 and December 7, but there are exceptions.

The Medicare Annual Disenrollment Period (MADP), between January 1 and February 14, gives you the option to make a change, but only if you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. During the MADP, you can drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and revert to Original Medicare, the program administered by the federal government.  Since Original Medicare benefits do not include prescription drug coverage, you may add a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan during this period, as well. It is important to note that if you disenroll in your Medicare Advantage plan, the federal law does not provide a guaranteed issue right to purchase a Medigap plan. Depending on your state, you may be able to buy a Medigap plan that will help cover the costs that Original Medicare does not, including co-insurance, and deductibles. If you make a change during this Medicare Annual Disenrollment Period, your new coverage will go into effect on the first day of the following month.

Even though AEP is over, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period during the year ahead if you experience a qualifying life-event. If you move, have a change in your marital status (marriage, divorce, or legal separation) or lose your health coverage, among other circumstances, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. In these cases, you will likely have 60 days following the event to make a change in your coverage.