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Changing your Medicare plan

You can change Medicare plans to meet your needs

Sometimes change can lead to something great. If you’re ready to explore new Medicare options, you may be able to switch to a different plan.

Why change Medicare plans?

Sometimes the coverage you chose when you first enrolled in Medicare may not be what’s best for you now. You might be planning for a surgery, experiencing changes in your lifestyle or adjusting your budget to better manage health care costs. You could also have recently moved to a new area or have had changes made to your current plan’s coverage – including which doctors or specialists are in your plan’s network.

Once you know “why” you need to leave your current plan, your next step is to see “when” you can switch.

The best time to switch your Medicare plan depends on your situation and the kind of coverage you have. Review the enrollment periods and special circumstances below to find the right time to make a change.

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) – October 15 to December 7

Each year during the AEP, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage for the following year. You can:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost or standalone Part D plan
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost or standalone Part D plan for the first time
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost or standalone Part D plan and go back to Original Medicare. You can then choose to apply for a Medicare Supplement plan.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period – January 1 to March 31

Have a Medicare Advantage plan? Then during the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare. You can then choose to join a standalone Part D plan.

Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs)

Certain life events may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period when you can change your Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Cost plan, Medicare Supplement plan or standalone Part D plan. Examples of these events include:

  • Moving outside of your current plan’s service area
  • Your plan ending, ceasing to serve the area where you live or significantly reducing its provider network
  • Qualifying for assistance from the Medicare Extra Help program (PDF)
  • Switching to a 5-Star plan

How to change your Medicare plan

If you want to look at new plans with your same insurance provider, you can usually compare plans online or call their team. At HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, it’s easy to review Medicare Advantage plans online.

If you want to see options from different health insurance providers, you can either contact them directly or work with a broker to get a consolidated list of your options. You can also use Medicare’s plan finder at .

Once you’ve found the best plan for your needs during an enrollment period, in most cases you can go ahead and sign up through that plan’s website or at . You can also call the plan to find out about other ways to enroll, like a paper application or telephonic enrollment. If you’re working with a broker, they can also help you with the sign-up process.

When your enrollment in your new plan is complete, don’t forget to contact the provider of your current (soon-to-be-old) plan and give them the date when you’ll be switching over.

A HealthPartners UnityPoint Health (PPO) Medicare plan gives you flexible options for all of life’s adventures. Explore the features and benefits that come with our Medicare plans to find the best fit for you.

Legal information

Last updated October 2022
H3416_002805 Accepted