Sometimes, people enroll in Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) plans that turn out to be the wrong fit for their needs. If this happened to you, you might be wondering, “How often can you change Medicare plans?”

Below, we explain what you need to know about switching Medicare plans.

Can I change my Medicare coverage at any time?

In most cases, the time to make changes to your Medicare coverage is during Open Enrollment, which takes place Oct. 15 – Dec. 7 every year. During this timeframe, you can reevaluate, add, drop, or switch your Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare Part D plan and compare it against all the others on the market. You can also switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.

However, there are some exceptions.

If you are enrolled in the wrong Medicare Advantage or Part D plan by mistake or after receiving misleading information, you may be able to disenroll from the plan and enroll in a new plan that is a better fit for your needs.

There are a few scenarios where you have a right to change plans:

  • You enrolled in a plan unintentionally.
  • You enrolled in a plan based on incorrect or misleading information.
  • You accidentally enrolled in the same plan or stayed in a plan you didn't want.

If you want to know “Is it too late to change Medicare plans?” and believe you fall within these scenarios above, help is available.

The first step is to call 1-800-MEDICARE to talk to a customer service representative. Be sure to explain in detail how you ended up joining the wrong plan. Generally, you have two options for disenrollment from a Medicare plan you do not want:

  • If you received any health care services since joining the plan and coverage was denied, you can request a retroactive disenrollment. This means you will be disenrolled from the plan going back to the date you enrolled in it. In this case, your providers will need to re-submit your claims to your new Medicare plan.
  • If you have not received any health care services since joining the plan, you can ask for a Special Enrollment Period. Once you’re approved, this will allow you to disenroll from your Medicare plan at the end of the month in which you requested disenrollment. You'll want to enroll in a new plan immediately to avoid any costly coverage gaps.

One way to avoid joining the wrong Medicare plan is to review your coverages each year, says Jen Teague, Associate Director of Health Coverage and Benefits at NCOA. “Medicare plans tend to change annually, impacting costs, coverage, and benefits. Comparing different plans during Open Enrollment allows you to explore new options that may better suit your health care needs and potentially save you money, too.”

If you prefer to have someone walk you through your Medicare options, talking to an expert is a good idea.

Who can I talk to about Medicare?

Does Medicare cover cataract surgery? Are Medicare Advantage plans worth it? Get your questions answered by connecting with a licensed Medicare broker that meets NCOA’s Standards of Excellence. Our broker partners are committed to serving your Medicare selection needs and priorities, including helping you understand all your options—at no cost to you. And you’ll never be pressured into buying a specific plan.