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There are times outside of the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) when you can change plans. You can move from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare between January 1 and February 14, 2011. If you do decide to make such a switch you have to join a Medicare Prescription Drug plan by February. Your coverage begins the first day of the month after your plan gets the enrollment form.
Although, there are certain things you cannot do during this January 1 to February 14 period. You can’t switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan. You cannot change Medicare Advantage plans. You cannot change from one Medicare Part D plan to another. You can’t drop, switch or join a Medicare Medical Savings Plan (a bank account and high deductible health care plan).
Remember you usually you have to stay in a plan (Advantage or other) for one calendar year. There are some exceptions for Medicare Advantage Plans. They often have specific geographic areas where you can enroll in a given plan. If you move outside that service area you may change plans. If you qualify for Extra Help you can change plans at other times too. Extra Help is for Medicare recipients with limited resources and income. You have to qualify for Extra help. You can also sometimes change when you live in a nursing home or certain other institutions.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|