We suggest getting total cost information for prescription plans first, as many Medicare eligibles must take prescription medicine on a maintenance basis. After understanding the prescription costs of different plans, investigate Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plan costs and benefits to determine your best option.
Excerpt from "Medicare & You":
Can I make changes to my coverage after December 7?
Starting in 2019, between January 1-March 31 each year, you can make these changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period:
- If you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage), you can switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage).
- You can disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare. If you choose to do so, you'll be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during your Initial Enrollment period,you can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) or go back to Original Medicare (with or without drug coverage) within the first 3 months you have Medicare.
During this period, you can't:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you're in Original Medicare.
- Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another if you're in Original Medicare.
You can only make one change during this period, and any changes you make will be effective the first of the month after the plan gets your request.
Thinking about joining a Medicare Advantage Plan between October 15-December 7, but aren't sure?
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1-March 31) gives you an opportunity to switch back to Original Medicare depending on which coverage works better for you.
How do I switch?
Follow these steps if you're already in a Medicare Advantage Plan and want to switch:
- To switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan, simply join the plan you choose during one of the enrollment periods explained on page 65. You'll be disenrolled automatically from your old plan when your new plan's coverage begins.
- To switch to Original Medicare, contact your current plan, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. If you don't have drug coverage, you should consider joining a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to avoid paying a penalty if you decide to join later. You may also want to consider joining a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy if you're eligible.