You can change Medicare plans during specific enrollment periods or under special enrollment due to certain qualifying conditions.
Outside of set enrollment periods, you either won’t be able to change plans or will be subject to potential denial, stipulations, and/or extra charges (with Medigap) or a late enrollment penalty (for example with Part B and Part D).
Each part of Medicare and Medigap has at least one annual enrollment period in which you can change plans.
In general, the annual enrollment periods are as follows:
- Initial Enrollment Period: You can freely change Part C, Part D, and Medigap plans during your initial enrollment period.
- Jan 1 – Mar 31 (General Enrollment): You can change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or you can drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare Parts A and B (and add a Medicare Drug plan if you wish).
- April 1 – June 30 (Limited Enrollment for Part C and Part D): If you enrolled in Medicare part B from Jan 1 to Mar 31 you can add a Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan during this period. You can’t make other changes during this period.
- Oct 15 – Dec 7 (Open Enrollment): You can freely make changes to your coverage. For example, you can switch back and forth between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, switch back and forth between an Advantage plan that offers drug coverage and one that doesn’t, and/or you can add or drop Part D coverage.
- Special Enrollment Period: A special enrollment period for one or more parts of Medicare can occur based on certain circumstances (for example after an employer-based health plan ends). You can change plans under specific circumstances during this period.
Learn more about Medicare’s annual enrollment periods.
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