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When Is the Best Time to Make Changes to My Medicare Coverage?

make changes to your Medicare plan during the AEP

If you want to make changes to your Medicare coverage, you have a few opportunities every year to do so. However, some times are better than others—let’s take a look at your different opportunities and which is best for you.

Initial Enrollment Period

The Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) depends on your age. In the 7 months surrounding your 65th birthday, you may enroll in any of the Medicare plans of your choice, including Parts A, B, C, D, or a Medicare Supplement.

This is a great time to enroll in a plan, however, not a great time to make changes. You likely will be signing for the first time at this point, and you will not know or have the option to make changes this early on.

Special Enrollment Period

If you miss your IEP to enroll, you may also do so if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Generally, you qualify for this if:

  • You moved out of your plan’s service area.
  • You or your spouse are currently working.
  • You become eligible for Medicaid.
  • Enrolled or lost a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP).
  • You need to be enrolled or are enrolled in a Special Needs Plan (SNP).
  • An error occurred on behalf of your plan provider and/or a federal employee.
  • You must make the necessary changes to your current plan.
  • Your plan makes changes to your coverage.

As you can see, unlike the IEP, you do have an opportunity to make changes to your coverage under the SEP. Unfortunately, these changes are not usually allowed unless decided by difficult circumstances or your plan itself, and may not be a great opportunity to make substantial change.

General Enrollment Period

If you miss your IEP and do not qualify for a SEP, you can enroll in Medicare coverage during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). This takes place between January 1 and March 31, your coverage starting July 1.

Once again, however, this window only allows for new enrollment, not specific changes you may want to make to your current coverage.

Annual Enrollment Period

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is likely the best opportunity for you to make changes to your Medicare coverage. Unlike the other periods, you have the option to:

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare and vice versa
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan without prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage with a Prescription Drug plan, and vice versa
  • Switch from One Prescription Drug plan to another.
  • Switch to a completely new plan with a different provider.

AEP lasts from October 15th to December 7th every year, and if any changes occur to your plan, you will be notified before this period starts.

Unsure How to Make Changes to Your Medicare Coverage? Call Trusted Senior Specialists

Now that you know the best time to make changes to your Medicare coverage, how do you get the ball rolling? For free insurance help, call Trusted Senior Specialists at (855) 952-1941.