Changing your Medicare plan
You can change Medicare plans to meet your needs
Life often changes; fortunately, your Medicare coverage can change with it. 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
- 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.
You become eligible for Medicare and Medicaid
If you have Medicaid (called Medical Assistance in Minnesota) and are eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, you can enroll in a plan that combines your coverage. In Minnesota, this plan is called
You can enroll in or change an MSHO plan:
- When you become eligible for both Medical Assistance and Medicare Parts A and B
- Once each quarter (January through September)
- During annual open enrollment (October 15 through December 7)
Generally, the plan will be effective the first day of the month after you enroll. If you sign up during the Annual Enrollment Period, your plan will be effective January 1 of the next year.
Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs)
Certain life events may qualify you for a
- 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
- 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, it’s easy to
If you want to see options from different health insurance providers, you can either contact them directly or
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
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 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.
Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system.
Last updated October 2022
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