Do I Have to Change My Medicare plan by December 7th?  We get a lot of calls about this very thing.  Many people think they have to change their Medicare plans now.  None stop advertising, as well as well meaning friends, co-workers and family members often muddy the waters around this question.  They may lead you to believe this is your only opportunity to make a change.

So who does this Medicare Annual Open Enrollment period apply to?  Everyone on Medicare has the opportunity to change their plans between October 15 through December 7th.  However, if you are currently on a Medicare Advantage plan, you may want to wait until the dust settles.  Did you know that you have an extra change window available to you from January 1 through March 31st. This period only applies to those Medicare beneficiaries currently on a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you want to sign-up for a stand alone Medicare Prescription drug plan, unless you qualify for a special election period trigger, you must sign up for this plan by December 7th.  This is when your agent should be helping you look at your current medications and what RX plan will work best for you in the new year.  FYI – We are trying to lobby CMS (Medicare) to give the extended change / enrollment period for those on Medicare RX plans as well.

Lastly if you are on a Medicare Supplement plan, you can apply to change your plan year round.  Keep in mind, in the majority of states, if you are not within 6 months of starting Medicare Part B, you will probably have to answer health questions to qualify for coverage. Some states have birthday month / plan anniversary rules and a small handful have very few restrictions for when you want to change your plan, like the state of Washington.

Do I Have to Change My Medicare plan by December 7th?

So the answer is, it depends.  As a reminder, those on Medicare Part D drug plans this is your window for changes for the new year.  Those on Medicare Advantage plans, you can make changes during this period or in the extended Open Enrollment Period in the new year.  Those on Medicare Supplement plans can apply to change year round.   Check out our great educational videos on Medicare and retirement.