Key Takeaways

  • Most Medicare Advantage users can switch plans yearly during the Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) and Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1 – March 31).

  • Once you choose a new plan, you’ll be automatically unenrolled from your old plan when the new plan’s coverage begins.

  • There are certain situations that allow you to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and select a Medigap plan without being subject to medical requirements.

What is the highest rated Medicare Advantage Plan? Can I change my Medicare plan at any time? Should I switch Medicare plans?

If you’re pondering these questions about your Medicare Advantage plan, you should take note of some important dates. 

Switching between one Medicare Advantage plan to another can be done yearly during:

  • The Annual Election/Open Enrollment Period, which runs October 15 – December 7.
  • The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs January 1 – March 31 every year.

New to Medicare? It’s possible to switch Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans during your individualized Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period that runs during the first three months of your enrollment. You can also switch plans during a Special Enrollment Period based on the plan’s star rating.

Once you choose a new Medicare Advantage plan, disenrollment from the old plan occurs automatically when the new plan’s coverage begins.

Changing from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

There are only a few times during the year when you can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare:

  • During the Annual Election/Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7)
  • During the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1 – March 31)
  • During your individual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (during the first 3 months of your enrollment in Medicare Part A and B)

Coverage starts on the first day of the month following the month in which coverage was switched. For example, if you switch to a new plan on January 10, coverage under the new plan begins February 1.

Switching From Medicare Advantage to Medigap

There are generally only a few situations that allow you to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and select a Medigap plan without having to go through medical underwriting.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan when first eligible for Medicare, and you’re unsatisfied with the plan, you have the right to purchase a Medigap policy within 12 months of enrollment from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans also allow you to enroll in Medigap if you move to a new location and the plan does not serve that geographic area. If you are previously enrolled in a Medigap policy and trying to switch back after a period of enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan, the same Medigap policy might not be available. In some cases, you’ll be unable to enroll unless there is a “trial right” or “guaranteed issue” right.

Get Trusted Medicare Advice

What is the average cost of supplemental insurance for Medicare? Which type of care is not covered by Medicare? There’s a lot to consider when choosing a plan—but you don’t have to do it alone.

NCOA's Age Well Planner is an educational tool from NCOA designed to help people with Medicare (and those planning for Medicare) make informed and confident choices about their health coverage. You can even connect with a licensed Medicare Enrollment Specialist for free, personalized advice.