Unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan? Don’t switch until you’ve checked this list
Medicare Benefits Solutions
Sep 22, 2021
There are many reasons why you might be thinking about changing to a new Medicare Advantage plan. Whatever the reason, here are seven things you need to consider – brought together in our handy checklist. It could help you get more of the things you want, without losing any of the good things you have already.
Your Essential Medicare Advantage Checklist
Look at your reasons for switching
What do you want from a new plan? Is it a lower monthly premium? Do you want dental, vision or hearing coverage? Are you unhappy with your current insurer, or with the network of healthcare providers it makes available? These are things you need to be clear on before you take any steps towards enrolling in a new plan.
List what’s good about your current plan
There’s a good chance your existing plan has some features that you’d like to keep. Work out what these are, so that you can make sure any new plan offers you the same or similar benefits. That might be affordable doctor copays, availability of the prescription drugs you need, or access to a preferred medical professional or clinic.
Do a side-by-side comparison of plans
When you look at your current plan’s offering alongside that of a recommended plan, make sure as many of the things you want are available. You can use our Plan Finder to make this process quick, simple and effective. It gives you a clear, at-a-glance view, making it easier for you to decide what’s right for you.
Think about how you use your plan
This is important if you use your plan a lot. Finding a new plan that reduces your monthly premiums to $0 is all well and good. But if your maximum out-of-pocket costs go up significantly as a result, you may end up paying a lot more in the long run – especially if you have ongoing health issues, or need to make frequent doctor visits.
Make sure you understand any restrictions
Not all types of Medicare Advantage plans operate in the same way. So it’s important to understand how any new plan might work – for example, the difference between HMOs and PPOs. Because while HMOs may have lower premiums, they tend to restrict you to only those doctors and specialists within your plan provider’s network.
Mark these important dates in your calendar:
Oct 15 to Dec 7
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period
You can switch your Medicare Advantage plan or your Prescription Drug Plan. You can also leave Original Medicare and enroll in Medicare Advantage, or leave Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare.
Jan 1 to Mar 31
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan (with or without prescription drug coverage), you can make one change to a different plan between these dates.
Special Enrollment Periods
If you experience certain life events, you may qualify to switch plans in what’s known as a Special Enrollment Period. This could happen because (but is not limited to) one of the reasons below.
Reasons for Special Enrollment Period
You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if:
- You move out of your current plan’s service area
- You move into or out of a long-term care facility
- You lose other creditable coverage through an employer or union
- You qualify for Medicaid
- Medicare ends your plan’s contract
- You are diagnosed with a chronic illness and qualify for a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan
Call on the experts here to help you
Always remember you’re not on your own – and you certainly don’t need to know everything. We have friendly, knowledgeable licensed sales agents ready to guide you step by step through the whole process. They may help you get the benefits and features you want, without losing the cost and coverage you want to keep.
Try our Plan Finder comparison and recommendation tool now. Or ask a licensed sales agent to help you find a plan that’s right for you by calling 888-725-1780 or TTY 711 Mon to Sun 5am – 8pm PT.
Call a licensed sales agent at
877-406-1753 or TTY 771
Mon – Sun 5am to 8pm PST
Find a plan
Get plan recommendations
Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.