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Want To Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan? You Have Until March 31

By Zawn Villines
Medicare Advantage offers private health insurance through Medicare. If you want to enroll in a plan or switch to Medicare Advantage from original Medicare, you have until March 31.

Medicare Advantage serves up a popular alternative to original Medicare.

Beneficiaries can choose from an average of 28 plans, depending on where they live. In addition to the benefits of traditional Medicare, people who choose Medicare Advantage may gain access to vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage.

But is there a deadline to change your Medicare plan? Medicare Advantage's open enrollment period ends March 31. If you don't sign up by then, you might have to wait nearly a year to switch plans.

What Can I Do During the Enrollment Period?

During open enrollment, you can:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
  • Leave Medicare Advantage and switch to original Medicare.
  • Enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), if you leave Medicare Advantage for original Medicare.

Even if you're new to Medicare and just enrolled, you can still switch Medicare Advantage plans during open enrollment.

Reasons to Switch Plans

You should consider switching plans if:

  • Your health needs have changed.
  • Your doctor is not covered under your current plan.
  • You are unhappy with your coverage.
  • Your coverage is too expensive, or does not cover all of the services you need.
  • You want prescription drug coverage, either through an Advantage plan or by enrolling in original Medicare and a Medicare Part D plan.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Ends March 31

The popularity of Medicare Advantage has steadily increased, thanks to the wide variety of plans available. About a third of Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in a plan. So even if you think you're happy with your current plan, it's worth spending some time comparing plans to see if there might be a better option.

You can compare and enroll in Medicare plans, including Medicare Advantage plans, using the plan comparison tool on The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare online. You may be able to learn more about a specific plan, and even enroll online, by visiting the plan's website.