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Switching Medicare plans

It is important to review your coverage annually to determine if it still meets your healthcare needs and budget. Here you’ll learn how and when to change your coverage.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

There are certain times when you can switch your Medicare plan, depending on your current coverage. If you currently have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) plan, you can add, drop or change your plan, unless you qualify for an exception, during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 through December 7.

You can switch Medicare supplement plans at any time.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

From Jan. 1 to March 31, you can make a one-time plan selection change. Options include selecting a new Medicare Advantage plan, changing to a Medicare Supplement plan, or disenrolling from a Medicare Advantage plan and returning to Original Medicare. Depending on the change you make, you could be eligible to enroll in a standalone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). It is important to note that you will not be able to make any further changes until the next Annual Election Period unless you qualify for a Special Election Period during the year.

If you signed up for Part D as part of your Medicare Advantage plan, or separately, you will be able to re-enroll in another Part D plan during this time period. Keep in mind, you may incur a premium penalty if you don’t enroll in a Part D plan at this time and decide to later.

Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

There are exceptions to the rules that allow you to switch Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) coverage without waiting until AEP. These exceptions are called “qualifying events.” If you qualify for any of them, you can join, leave or change your coverage during a Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP). 

 “Qualifying events” for SEP include:

  • Moving out of your plan’s service area
  • Moving within your current plan’s service area, with new plan options
  • Moving into or out of a qualified institution (nursing home, psychiatric hospital, etc.)
  • Leaving your employer, retiree, union or COBRA coverage
  • Losing creditable drug coverage through no fault of your own
  • Your current Medicare plan stops servicing your area
  • Qualifying to enroll in a Medicare/Medicaid dual-eligibility Special Needs Plan

Other life events may qualify for SEP, too. Call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office for details.

Here’s how to switch to a Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage plan

If you qualify for the Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) you can sign up online anytime for Medicare Advantage (Part C) and prescription drug (Part D) coverage.

If you do not have a “qualifying event” (see above), you’ll be eligible to switch during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), from October 15 to December 7. Have questions? Call 800-482-8163 (TTY: 711) to speak with a Geisinger Gold Medicare Advisor.

Y0032_18270_1_M File and Use 10/1/18