associatesMD logo

New Medicare Advantage option for 2019

misc image

New Medicare Advantage option for 2019

If you chose a Medicare Advantage plan during this year’s enrollment period that ended Dec. 7, then you have a three-month trial period next year for your selection. If the plan doesn’t meet your needs, you can switch to another through March 31, 2019.

What changes can you make?

Starting 2019, a new open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans will run from

Jan. 1 through March 31. If you’re enrolled in one of these plans, you can make the following changes during this time.

  • Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in original Medicare, Part A or Part B.
  • Sign up for the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, if you enroll in original Medicare, which doesn’t provide a prescription plan.

Previously, you could only switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to original Medicare and Part D from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14. You couldn't choose another Medicare Advantage plan.

The trial period applies to Medicare Advantage plans only. If you’re enrolled in Medicare Parts A or B – known as original Medicare – you can’t make any changes until the new enrollment period later in 2019.

What’s Medicare Advantage?

Created in 2003 to offer more options, Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private insurance providers. Similar to an employee-sponsored health plan, the insurer manages your care and pays claims on your behalf. With original Medicare, the government pays for your claims.

There are hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans and the ones available to you depend on your location. Some plans may include benefits that original Medicare doesn’t traditionally provide such as dental care, vision insurance and gym memberships.

This year, the federal government estimates that more than 36 percent of Medicare recipients will enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019, an all-time high. Four in five Medicare Advantage enrollees who remain in their current plan will have the same or lower premium next year. Almost half of enrollees in their current plan will have no premium.