Already Hate Your Medicare Plan? Here’s What to Do

It’s a new year, and for some seniors, that could mean a new Medicare plan. If you made changes to your coverage during this past fall’s open-enrollment period, you might be looking at a whole new set of health benefits for 2022.

But Medicare changes don’t always work out. It could be the case that you decided to swap your old coverage for a new plan, only to realize early on in the year that it’s just not working out.

If you’re unhappy with your Part D drug plan, you may, unfortunately, be stuck with it until next year. But if you’ve recently moved over to a new Medicare Advantage plan, you’re in luck.

An older person looking at a bunch of pills.

Image source: Getty Images.

Medicare Advantage has its own distinct open-enrollment period. And if you’re not loving your coverage, you have a chance to make changes that will take effect soon, so you’re not stuck with an inferior plan for all of 2022.

Do you need a new Advantage plan?

Medicare Advantage plans are those offered by private insurers, and they can, in many cases, offer a wider scope of coverage than original Medicare, and at a more affordable price tag. That’s important for seniors on a fixed income who are largely limited to Social Security.

But each Medicare Advantage plan operates under its own rules and offers its own benefits. And if you’re new to your Advantage plan, you might already be encountering hiccups that prompt you to make a switch.

For one thing, you might have learned early on in the year that you need a new prescription. If your coverage for it under your Advantage plan isn’t great, that’s reason enough to switch.

You may also be struggling to find providers or pharmacies within your Advantage plan’s network that are easy to access and offer the service you need. That, too, would be grounds for a switch.

Furthermore, it might be the case that you didn’t switch Medicare Advantage plans for 2022, but rather, kept the plan you were on. But if that plan underwent changes that are impacting you negatively — say, your go-to physician is no longer in-network — then you might be eager to change your coverage.

The good news is that Medicare Advantage offers its own open-enrollment period that runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. During that time, you can switch from your existing Advantage plan to a new one, or revert to your old plan if you think it’s a better fit.

Furthermore, if you decide that you no longer want an Advantage plan at all, you’ll have the option to move over to original Medicare and then sign up for a Part D drug plan. That said, you can only make one change to your coverage during Medicare Advantage’s open-enrollment period, so if you’re motivated to switch things up, you’ll need to work through that decision carefully.

Get the most out of Medicare

Healthcare is probably one of your greatest expenses — and concerns — as a senior. If you’re not fully satisfied with your Medicare Advantage plan, you shouldn’t hesitate to secure better coverage. And while you definitely shouldn’t rush through the process, do make sure to lock in your choice by March 31 so you’re not stuck with the wrong plan for the remainder of 2022.

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