Options After Open Enrollment Ends

If you did not act by December 7, you may still have options:

Currently on Original Medicare:

  • If you have a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and did not change it by Dec. 7, it’s too late to change your plan. Your only option to change plans is to use the 5-star special enrollment period (SEP) option to change to one of the Kaiser Medicare Advantage plans. Call HICAP for more information about that. Otherwise, see our handout on How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs for help with your prescription costs.
  • If you have a Medigap supplement plan and want to change to a different one you must wait for your birthday month, or you can switch to any Blue Shield Medigap plan before Feb. 28th.

Currently have Medicare Advantage (MA):

If you didn’t disenroll from your MA plan by Dec. 7, you have another opportunity to do so during the new MA open enrollment period between Jan. 1 and March 31.

  • You can disenroll from your MA plan and choose Original Medicare with a drug plan and possibly a supplement*, OR
  • You can change to any other MA plan.

The simplest way to change plans is to enroll in a new plan. Return to Original Medicare by enrolling in a stand-alone drug plan. Change MA plans by enrolling in the new plan. In both cases you will automatically be disenrolled from your old plan.

If you don’t make a change by March 31st, you will remain in your current MA plan for the rest of the year. The only further options to change are:

1) Switch to one of the Kaiser Senior Advantage plans under the 5 star SEP.

2) Switch to one of the Special Needs Plans (C-SNP or I-SNP) for people with specific chronic conditions or those who are institutionalized.

Even if you did change or enroll in a MA plan during open enrollment and now have second thoughts, you can change again during the first quarter of the year or choose Original Medicare with a drug plan. You have just one opportunity during this first quarter period to make a change.

If you act during January, your new coverage will be effective Feb. 1st. If you act during February, your new coverage will be effective March 1st, and if you act during March, your new plan will be effective April 1st. Note: If you disenroll from a MA plan and do not enroll in a prescription drug plan, you may be subject to a Part D late enrollment penalty should you want Part D again later.

*You also may have the option to supplement your coverage with a Medigap plan if you switch from Medicare Advantage and choose Original Medicare.

  • Until Feb. 28, 2022, you can get any Blue Shield Medigap plan* with no medical underwriting. To take advantage of this you must have had a Medicare Advantage plan or any Medigap plan within the last 60 days. (Note: this is a special opportunity for 2022.)
  • Alternatively, you can apply for a Medigap Supplement Plan from any company. You may or may not be guaranteed a plan depending on your situation:
    • Due to cost increases, you have a limited guaranteed right to a Medigap plan if you had the one of these plans in 2021: Humana Gold, AARP SecureHorizons Plan 1, AARP SecureHorizons Focus, United Health Care Canopy, or United Health Care Assure. The Medigap must be with the same parent organization as your MA plan (Humana or AARP/UHC)*. You have until March 3, 2022 to apply. If you have not yet disenrolled from your MA plan you can still disenroll during January or February, 2022 and have the same right.
    • If you had Imperial Traditional, Imperial Senior Value, or Kaiser Senior Advantage Basic or Enhanced MA and you disenrolled by Dec. 7, 2021, you also have a guaranteed right to get a Medigap plan due to cost increases. In this case you can get a Medigap from any company until March 3, 2022. If you did not disenroll from Kaiser by Dec. 7, you can disenroll between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2022 and go back to Original Medicare with a PDP, but you do not have a guaranteed issue right to get a Medigap. You may apply for one, but you will be subject to medical underwriting and may be denied.

*Once covered by a Medigap plan, you can change to an equal or lesser plan at a different company at your birthday month. Also note, Medigap plans do not cover prescriptions. You will need a separate Prescription Drug Plan.

How can I learn more and get help from HICAP?

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