Medicare Advantage “side doors”

I call them “side doors,” but that also implies something against the rules. NO CHANCE that I would advocate anything that is against regulations. There are enough examples of this (click here for this New Republic article about Medicare Advantage commercials).

Nevertheless, you can still change your Medicare Advantage plan, if and only if you are an existing Medicare Advantage policyowner.

  • Now: you can change TO a 5-star Medicare Advantage plan, if one is available in your location. You can do this now (started December 8th).

  • January 1 – March 31: You can switch from your Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan. There are many reasons you would do so. You find that you will require extensive healthcare services. You find out that a doctor or clinic is not in your network. You find that prescriptions are more efficiently covered. You need extra dental / vision, and the supplemental benefits are superior within a different plan. This is a partial list, you need to check.

  • Apply for Extra Help. If you qualify for the federal Extra Help program, then you have the once-per-quarter ability to change Medicare Advantage plans (or you can cancel your Medicare Advantage, something that is not suggested unless you have a VERY exceptional situation, like you have other insurance such as Medigap, already lined up). Note that if you qualify for Extra Help, then all late enrollment penalties are waived.