How to Change Medicare Plans

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 31, 2023

Switching or changing Medicare plans may become necessary if your healthcare needs change, or if you're looking for better coverage or more affordable options.  While the process may seem daunting, understanding the steps involved can help you navigate the transition smoothly. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to change Medicare plans, ensuring you can make an informed decision and seamlessly switch to a plan that better suits your healthcare requirements.

Assessing Your Current Medicare Plan

Before you embark on changing your Medicare plan, it's essential to assess your current coverage. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Review Your Current Plan: Take the time to understand the specifics of your existing Medicare plan, including coverage, benefits, premiums, deductibles, copayments, and any limitations.
  • Evaluate Your Healthcare Needs: Assess your healthcare needs and determine if your current plan adequately addresses them. Consider any changes in medications, treatments, or doctors that may require different coverage.

Researching Alternative Medicare Plans

Once you've evaluated your current plan, it's time to explore alternative options. Follow these steps to research and identify potential Medicare plans:

  1. Understand Medicare Plan Types: Familiarize yourself with the different types of Medicare plans available, such as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans.
  1. Research Available Plans: Use reputable resources like the official Medicare guides and independent Medicare plan comparison tools to research available plans in your area. Pay attention to coverage details, benefits, costs, and provider networks.
  1. Compare Plan Features: Compare the features of each plan, considering factors such as coverage, premiums, deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, prescription drug coverage, and additional benefits like dental or vision care.

Enrolling in a New Medicare Plan

Once you have identified a new Medicare plan that suits your needs, it's time to enroll. Follow these steps to complete the enrollment process:

  1. Determine Enrollment Period: Be aware of the applicable enrollment periods, such as the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) or Special Enrollment Periods triggered by specific circumstances like moving or losing employer coverage.
  1. Contact the New Plan: Reach out to the new Medicare plan directly to inquire about enrollment requirements and the application process. They will guide you through the necessary steps and provide any required forms or documentation.
  1. Gather Required Information: Collect the necessary information and documents, including your Medicare card, Social Security number, and any other relevant identification or eligibility documentation.
  1. Complete the Application: Fill out the enrollment application accurately and thoroughly. We recommend doing this step with a licensed expert.  Review the form carefully to ensure all information is correct, and double-check for any required signatures.
  1. Submit the Application: Send the completed application to the new Medicare plan by mail or follow their instructions for online submission. Retain copies of all submitted documents for your records.

Canceling Your Current Medicare Plan

Once your new Medicare plan enrollment is confirmed, it's important to cancel your current plan to avoid duplicate coverage and unnecessary costs. 

If your current plan is a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), you do not need to do anything.  Your new plan will notify Medicare and Medicare will let your old insurance company know exactly when your plan should end.

For all other insurance including if you have a Medicare Supplement, take the following steps to cancel your existing plan:

  • Contact Your Current Plan: Notify your current Medicare plan about your intention to cancel. They will provide guidance on the cancellation process, which may involve submitting a formal cancellation request.
  • Confirm Cancellation Details: Verify the effective date of the cancellation to ensure a smooth transition to your new plan. Clarify any requirements or paperwork needed to complete the cancellation.
  • Retain Confirmation Documentation: Keep a copy of the cancellation confirmation for your records, including any correspondence or reference numbers provided by your current plan.

It's important to note that specific rules and guidelines can vary, so it's advisable to consult official Medicare resources or speak with a Medicare specialist to get accurate and personalized answers to your questions before making any changes to your Medicare plan.

Compare Medicare Plans


Changing Medicare plans doesn't have to be a complicated process. By assessing your current plan, researching alternative options, enrolling in a new plan, and canceling your existing coverage correctly, you can successfully transition to a Medicare plan that better suits your healthcare needs. Remember to thoroughly evaluate your options, seek guidance when needed, and keep track of all important documents throughout the process. With the right approach, you can navigate the process of changing Medicare plans with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I change my Medicare plan at any time?


No, you cannot change your Medicare plan at any time. Generally, you can make changes during specific enrollment periods, such as the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) or Special Enrollment Periods triggered by qualifying events like moving, losing employer coverage, or qualifying for Medicaid.


How often can I change my Medicare plan?


You can typically make changes to your Medicare plan once a year during the Annual Enrollment Period. However, certain circumstances may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period, allowing you to make changes outside of the regular enrollment period.


Can I switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa?


Yes, you can switch between Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) during the designated enrollment periods. Keep in mind that if you switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, you will no longer have Original Medicare coverage.


Can I change my Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?


Yes, you can change your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during the Annual Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period. It’s essential to review your prescription needs annually and ensure that your current plan covers your medications at a reasonable cost.


Will I experience a gap in coverage when changing Medicare plans?


Generally, there shouldn’t be a gap in coverage when transitioning between Medicare plans. However, it’s crucial to coordinate the effective dates of your new plan and the cancellation of your existing plan to avoid any lapses in coverage.

RIchard Chan

About RIchard Chan

Medicare, health insurance, life insurance, consumer lending, capital markets, macroeconomics, mergers and acquisitions.