Changing Medicare Plans
When Can I Change My Medicare Coverage?
You can make changes to your Medicare coverage during a few key times.
- The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), October 15 – December 7
- The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, January 1 – March 31
- The Medicare Special Enrollment Period for qualifying life events; dates vary based on qualifying event
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) happens every year October 15 to December 7. During this time, anyone with Medicare coverage can make changes to their coverage for the following year.
Learn about what you can do during the Annual Enrollment Period
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The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP)
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is for current Medicare Advantage plan members. It runs from January 1 to March 31. During this time, Medicare Advantage plan members can revisit their plan choices and choose to make coverage changes.
You can do the following during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period:
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
- Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare (Parts A & B).
- Enroll in a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D), if you go back to Original Medicare.
Additionally, if you choose to return to Original Medicare, you are now able to apply for a Medicare supplement insurance plan, though you are not guaranteed coverage and could face higher costs.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP) – for Medicare Advantage or Part D members
Current Medicare enrollees may qualify for a unique 2- month Special Enrollment Period to switch to a different Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan due to a "qualifying life event."
You may qualify for a 2-month Special Enrollment Period in the following situations:
- You move out of your plan's service area.
- Your plan closes, stops serving the area where you live, significantly reduces its provider network or your plan consistently receives low Medicare star ratings.
- You want to enroll in a 5-star plan at any time or drop your first Medicare Advantage plan within 12 months of enrolling.
- You move into or out of a qualified institutional facility, like a nursing home.
- You are enrolled in or lose eligibility for a qualified State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program.
- You have Medicare financial assistance such as Medicaid, a Medicare Savings Program or Extra Help, or you gain or lose eligibility for any of these.
- You enroll in or leave the Program of All-Inclusive Care for Elderly (PACE).
- You gain or lose eligibility for a Special Needs Plan.
Some situations not listed here may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period as well. If you have questions about your personal situation, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program for help.
What can I do during this time?
If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event, you can do the following:
Switch to a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan
Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare
If you return to Original Medicare, you can also enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan and/or Medicare supplement insurance plan.
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*Please note that you may be underwritten and not accepted into the plan if you are outside of Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment or Guaranteed Issue periods
or, if accepted, your rate may be higher. This does not apply to residents of Connecticut and New York where Open Enrollment and Guaranteed Issue is ongoing and Medicare supplement plans are guaranteed available.
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AARP encourages you to consider your needs when selecting products and does not make product recommendations for individuals.
Please note that each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its products.
AARP® Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
AARP endorses the AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, insured by UnitedHealthcare.
Insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, Hartford, CT (available in all states/territories except ND, NY) or UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of America, Schaumburg, IL (available in NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA) or UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York, Islandia, NY (for NY residents). Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its products. Policy Form No. GRP 79171 GPS-1 (G-36000-4).
In some states, plans may be available to persons under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare by reason of disability or End-Stage Renal Disease.
Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program.
This is a solicitation of insurance. A licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you.
You must be an AARP member to enroll in an AARP Medicare Supplement Plan.
THESE PLANS HAVE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS. FOR COSTS AND COMPLETE DETAILS (INCLUDING OUTLINES OF COVERAGE), CALL A LICENSED INSURANCE AGENT/PRODUCER AT THE TOLL-FREE NUMBER ABOVE.
Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Prescription Drug plans
Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in these plans depends on the plan's contract renewal with Medicare. You do not need to be an AARP member to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Prescription Drug plan.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information.