I recently received a call from a gentleman who was very unhappy with his Medicare Advantage insurance selection and wanted to change now. Medicare however does not allow individuals to make changes during the year unless it is during a specified election period. Although he would have the opportunity to make one switch during the year to a 5 star Medicare Advantage plan, he did not want to leave his doctors and that would have been required with the only 5 star plan available . If this was the beginning of the year, Medicare does allow for a disenrollment from a Medicare Advantage plan within the first 45 days of the year; however, you cannot switch to another Medicare Advantage plan. Your only option during this Annual Disenrollment period is to Medicare only and a stand-alone drug plan.
He then thought he would be able to make a change as of October. I advised him that although Annual Enrollment is Oct. 15 thru Dec. 7, the selection made by the beneficiary is not effective until January 1st of the following year.
It’s important for Medicare beneficiaries to take time during Annual Enrollment to review their plan choice – not only to make sure that with the plan they select their prescription drugs are covered and covered cost effectively and that their physicians take the plan they are interested in, but also to review the medical benefits of that plan so that they are aware of what their potential out-of-pocket costs will be for various medical services.