Switching Your Medicare Advantage Plan-Kiplinger

Switching Your Medicare Advantage PlanUnder certain circumstances, you can change Medicare Advantage plans mid-year. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for the open enrollment period for the year ahead.By Kimberly Lankford, September 4, 2015I haven’t been too happy with my Medicare Advantage plan this year—I started taking a drug with expensive out-of-pocket costs, and some of the doctors I want to see aren’t included in the plan’s network. Is it too late to switch plans?SEE OUR SLIDE SHOW: 11 Common Medicare Mistakes to AvoidProbably. In most cases, you can only switch plans during open enrollment in the fall, which runs from October 15 to December 7, 2015, for coverage to begin on January 1. But there are a few exceptions. For instance, you can switch into a Medicare Advantage plan with a five-star quality rating anytime during the year—if you have access to one. Only 11 Medicare Advantage plans with prescription-drug coverage earned five-star ratings for 2015. These plans are in certain counties in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, and in Washington, D.C. Five-star Medicare Advantage plans without prescription-drug coverage are in certain counties in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Use the Medicare Plan Finder tool to see if there are any five-star plans in your zip code. See this fact sheet from Medicare Interactive for more information about the star ratings.You can also switch plans outside of open enrollment if you move to an address that isn’t in your plan’s service area. There are a few other, less likely situations in which you can switch plans throughout the year; for details, see the Special Circumstances fact sheet at Medicare.gov for more information about situations where you can switch plans outside of open enrollment.

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