4 Signs It Could Pay to Get a New Medicare Advantage Plan During Open Enrollment

Many people who sign up for Medicare stick with the original version of it — Parts A and B, plus a Part D drug plan. But you may have instead opted to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Advantage plans are offered by private insurers and work similarly to the health insurance plans workers tend to be familiar with. And one major benefit of signing up for Medicare Advantage over original Medicare is that your plan might cover a host of extra services, like dental care and eye exams. When you’re on a fixed income that consists largely or solely of Social Security benefits, having that additional coverage could be crucial.

But there may come a point when it’s time to change Medicare Advantage plans, and right now, you have a prime opportunity to do it. Medicare’s annual fall open enrollment period just got underway, and between now and Dec. 7, you have the option to change Advantage plans if that’s a route you want to take. Here are a few signs that such a change may be in order.

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1. Your costs are rising

By now, you should’ve received a notice of change from your Medicare Advantage plan administrator. That notice will contain all the changes your plan is undergoing for 2023. If you see that your costs under that plan will be increasing, then that alone is a sign that you may want to make a switch, or at least explore other options and see if there’s a more cost-effective plan out there.

Keep in mind that your premium costs may be staying the same in 2023, or even going down. But check up on your other costs, too, like coinsurance.

2. You’re paying for benefits you don’t use

The upside of Medicare Advantage plans is that many offer an array of supplemental benefits. But if you’re not using those extra benefits, then maybe you should stop paying for them.

Let’s say your Medicare Advantage covers the cost of a gym membership. That’s a nice perk — if you go to the gym. If you don’t, you may want to find a plan that offers fewer benefits, but also costs less.

3. Your healthcare needs are changing

Any time your personal health situation changes, it’s a good idea to explore your plan choices and see if another Advantage plan is a better fit. You may find that there’s a different plan that can better accommodate a condition you’ve just been diagnosed with.

4. Your preferred providers will no longer be in-network

While original Medicare generally gives you access to a wide range of healthcare providers, Medicare Advantage tends to limit enrollees to a more narrow network. If your favorite doctors will no longer be in-network under your current Advantage plan come 2023, then you may want to switch over to a new plan where you’ll be able to continue seeing the providers you’ve come to know and trust.

Just because you have a chance to switch Medicare Advantage plans doesn’t mean you have to make a change during fall open enrollment. But if these circumstances apply to you, then it pays to at least dig around and see if there’s a better option.

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