Ask Kim


Switching Medicare Plans Outside of Open Enrollment

Kimberly Lankford

If you want to change your Medicare plan, it's not too late -- but you'll need to act by February 14.



I signed up for a new Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment in the fall, but now that I’m using the plan, I found out that it doesn’t cover some of my doctors. Can I switch to another Medicare plan before the next open enrollment?

SEE ALSO: How to Find Doctors Who Accept Medicare

Yes, if you act by February 14. But there are restrictions. You can only switch to an original Medicare plan, not to another Medicare Advantage plan. Since you would be leaving Medicare Advantage, you would also have the option to choose a Part D prescription-drug plan.

If you miss the February 14 deadline, you generally need to wait until the next open-enrollment period -- October 15 to December 7, 2012 -- to make changes to your coverage for the following year (except in the case of certain life-changing events). See Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods for more information about these special situations and about the general rules for enrolling in and changing plans.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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