Unhappy With Your Medicare Advantage Plan? Your Chance to Switch for This Year Ends Soon | Smart Change: Personal Finance

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(Maurie Backman)

One of the nice things about Medicare is that it allows you to choose the coverage that works best for you. That could mean sticking with original Medicare and buying a Part D drug plan to accompany parts A and B, which cover hospital care and outpatient services, respectively. Or, it could mean signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers, and they’re required to offer at least the same level of coverage as original Medicare. But often, they provide superior coverage at affordable prices, making them a nice option for seniors who want benefits like paid-for dental and eye exams.

Each year, seniors on Medicare can opt to make changes to their coverage during the fall open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. But those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans get even more leeway.

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That’s because Medicare Advantage has its own enrollment window that runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. During that time, you can make changes to your Advantage plan if you’re dissatisfied with your coverage.

But if that’s the case right now, you’d better act quickly. You only have a couple more weeks to change plans and secure coverage for the remainder of 2022 that works better for you.

Should you switch Advantage plans?

Each Medicare Advantage plan has its own pluses and minuses, so if you’re not happy with your current plan, there may be a better one out there for you.

Why might you switch plans? Say your preferred doctors are no longer in-network, and you’re not happy with the new doctors you’ve seen so far. That’s a good reason to change. Or, you might be struggling to find a convenient in-network pharmacy.

Further, you might be spending more on healthcare than you expected after having enrolled in your current Advantage plan. If that’s the case, it could really pay to make a change — especially if you’re on a tight budget that relies heavily on Social Security benefits.

Regardless of your reasons why, until March 31, enrollees can still do the following:

  • Move from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Drop Medicare Advantage and revert to original Medicare

Changes could catch you off guard

While sometimes, people sign up for a new Medicare Advantage plan and then discover that it doesn’t suit them as well as they’d hoped, often, seniors who opt to switch Advantage plans do so because after sticking with a plan they previously liked , they found that it had been changed in ways unfavorable to their needs. Thankfully, you still have an opportunity to get out of that situation.

But either way, during fall open enrollment, it’s a good idea to review the changes your provider has made to your Medicare Advantage plan. Doing so could prevent a scenario where you wind up unhappy with your coverage and scrambling to make changes in the new year.

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