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[IP] Fwd: When can I change my Medicare coverage in 2019?

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When can I change my Medicare coverage in 2019?

Dear Marci,

I made changes to my Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment
without doing much research about my options, and now I am not sure if
I have the Medicare coverage that is best for me. What opportunities
do I have to change my coverage in 2019?

-Sophia (Minneapolis, MN)

Dear Sophia,

There are several situations in which you may be able to change your
Medicare coverage in 2019. Some of these situations include:

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) occurs each
year from January 1 through March 31.
During the MA OEP, you can switch from your Medicare Advantage Plan to
another Medicare Advantage Plan or to Original Medicare with or
without a stand-alone prescription drug plan. Remember, you can only
use this enrollment period if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Before making any changes, make sure you know how changing your health
and drug coverage will affect you.
Changes made during the MA OEP are effective the first of the
following month. For example, if you switch from a Medicare Advantage
Plan to Original Medicare and a stand-alone Part D plan on February
10, your new coverage will begin March 1.

If you have Extra Help

Extra Help is a federal program that helps pay for some to most of the
out-of-pocket costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. If you
have Extra Help in 2019, you have a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to
enroll in a Part D plan or switch between plans.
This SEP is available once per calendar quarter for the first three
quarters of the year (January-March, April-June, and July-September).
If you use the Extra Help SEP to change your coverage, the change will
become effective the first of the month when you make the change. For
example, if you use the Extra Help SEP to choose a new Part D
prescription drug plan in March, that plan will become effective April
This is a change to the Extra Help SEP, which previously could be used
once per month. If you have Extra Help, these new limits may mean that
you are locked into a drug plan at certain times of the year.

If you qualify for another Special Enrollment Period (SEP):

There are several circumstances in which you may be able to make
changes to your Medicare health or drug coverage, like if you move
outside of your planbs service area, if your Medicare Advantage Plan
terminated a significant amount of its providers, or if you enroll in
certain State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs).
If you need to make changes to your coverage but you are not sure
whether you qualify for an SEP, call your State Health Insurance
Assistance Program (SHIP) to learn more. To contact your SHIP, call
877-839-2675 or visit www.shiptacenter.org


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Each year, there are changes to Medicare costs and coverage options.
Starting in 2019, there are also several important changes to Medicare
that will affect enrollment, Medicare Advantage Plans, and
prescription drug coverage.

Visit Medicare Interactive to download the free bMedicare in 2019b
guide, and find out what you can expect for Medicare Parts A, B, D,
and Medicare Advantage in 2019.

Download the guide.

Dear Marci is a biweekly e-newsletter designed to keep you -- people
with Medicare, social workers, health care providers and other
professionals -- in the loop about health care benefits, rights and
options for older Americans and people with disabilities.

For reprint rights, please contact Mitchell Clark

The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service
organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for
older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and
advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.
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