Changing Medicare Part D Plans

Most people are allowed to switch plans once a year, during the Annual Election/Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7). A Part D plan can also be added if switching from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) which runs from January 1 – March 31. The MA OEP does not allow for Part D changes for individuals enrolled in Original Medicare, including those enrolled in stand-alone Part D plans.

If receiving Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs, it possible to switch plans as often as once per quarter during the first nine months of the year (January -September).

There are special circumstances for switching plans at other times:

  • A move out of the area the current plan serves; or

  • Enter, leave or live in a nursing home; or

  • Plan changes and no longer serves area; or

  • Receiving Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs.

Changing Drug Plan Formularies Mid-Year

Part D plans sometimes change their formularies during the course of the year. This happens because new drugs come on or are taken off the market, generic versions of a brand name drug become available or there are new clinical guidelines about the use of a medication. Part D plans are required to provide 60 days’ notice to all plan members about a formulary change before it happens.

Related Content

A Guide to Enrolling in Medicare Part D
Enrolling in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) is mandatory, while prescription drug coverage (Part D) is optional. First, decide is Part D is this right fit.
Changing Medigap Policies
There are many reasons to switch Medigap plans. Maybe out-of-pocket costs are too high, certain benefits are unneeded, or health changes require more coverage.
Explore Medicare Coverage
Understand the differences between Medicare coverage including Orginal Medicare (Part A & B), Part C, Part D and Medigap.

Age Well Planner is an educational website created by nonprofit the National Council on Aging (NCOA). We provide information, resources, and referrals on topics such as: Benefits, Income, and Medicare.

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