Page Reviewed / Updated - August 12, 2020
Seniors who are in a Medicare Advantage plan are allowed to switch to a new plan at certain times throughout the year. These include the fall open enrollment period and the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period. Seniors who experience certain life events may qualify for a special enrollment period, which lets them make changes outside of the two annual open enrollment periods.
The costs, coverage or service area of Medicare Advantage plans can change every year, and seniors are informed of these changes with a "Plan Annual Notice of Change." After reviewing this notice, some seniors may find that their current plan will no longer meet their needs and they need to make a change.
The fall open enrollment period takes place between October 15 and December 7 every year. During this period, seniors can change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. They can also move from a Medicare Advantage plan that has drug coverage to one that doesn't, and vice versa. During this enrollment period, seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan are also allowed to switch back to Original Medicare.
Changes that seniors make during this period will take effect on January 1 of the following year, as long as the plan received the request by the last day of the enrollment period.
The annual Medicare Advantage open enrollment period takes place between January 1 and March 31. This period provides another opportunity for seniors to move from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to another plan with or without drug coverage. Switching to Original Medicare is also possible.
When seniors make changes during this period, their new coverage will start on the first day of the month after the plan receives the request.
Seniors who experience certain life events can switch Medicare Advantage plans outside of the two open enrollment periods. Some of the life events that may trigger a special enrollment period include: