Last Chance to Change Medicare Plans This Year

Kip Tips

Last Chance to Change Medicare Plans This Year

You need to act soon if you're unhappy with your current plan.

If you have Medicare and haven't been satisfied with your plan, you have a chance now to switch to a new one. But you need to move quickly because the open-enrollment period ends March 31.

You can't, however, make changes to your prescription drug coverage. For example, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage, you can't switch to a plan that doesn't cover prescription drugs. Nor can you switch from one stand-alone prescription plan to another.

If premiums for your Medicare Advantage plan increased this year (my mom's nearly doubled), use this opportunity to shop for a new plan. has a great tool -- Medicare Options Compare -- to help you compare costs and coverage in your area for these plans. Kimberly Lankford in her column Get the Best Medicare Advantage Plan provides a step-by-step guide to using this tool.

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If you need help deciding whether to stick with the government's plan or switch to a private plan (Medicare Advantage), see Choose the Right Medicare Plan for Your Needs and use our Medicare comparison tool.

The Medicare Rights Center also has resources to help you decide whether to switch and to find a plan that suits your needs. You can speak with a counselor by calling 800-333-4114 or use a free counseling tool at