This is a great question that I am often asked! There are several scenarios so let’s try to break it down.
Scenario #1 The beneficiary has original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement Plan, and a Stand Alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
A Medicare Supplement plan can be changed at any time of year. This option requires underwriting. A Special Election period would provide a Guarantee Issue. The Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plan cannot be changed until the Medicare Open Enrollment. This occurs between October 15th – December 7th. A Medicare beneficiary would change a Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO type plan during the Annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
Scenario #2 The beneficiary is currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO Plan. Remember, in this scenario you are not on Original Medicare but using the HMO or PPO plan in its place.
In this scenario a Medicare Advantage Plan can only be changed to another Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Medicare Open Enrollment period.This occurs October 15th to December 7th. If the Medicare beneficiary is getting extra help with the Part B of Medicare a Medicare beneficiary could qualify for a Special Election Period. In some cases these beneficiaries can change the plan several times in a year. Changing many times a year is more the exception than the rule.
A Medicare beneficiary can switch from a Medicare Advantage HMO plan or PPO plan, to a Medicare Supplement Plan . They can do this during the Annual Medicare Open Enrollment. An applicant for a Medicare Supplement plan would have to go through the medical underwriting process. Once they are approved for the Medicare Supplement Plan you can then apply for a Stand Alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. This process will replace the prescription benefit under the original plan Medicare Advantage Plan. Not sure of your options? Give us a call at 215-738-8100.
By Joe DeAngelis
Medicare Supplement Insurance Adviser