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What You Need to Know About Medicare Special Enrollment: Why Losing Healthcare Coverage Can Be an Opportunity

Losing your healthcare coverage can be incredibly stressful. While change is hard, losing your coverage may qualify you for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period, giving you a hidden opportunity to find a better plan.

How could you lose healthcare coverage? If you:

  • Leave a job
  • Become ineligible for Medicaid
  • Have a Medicare plan that changes its contract with Medicare
  • Are no longer eligible for a Special Needs Plan (SNP)

All of these situations could result in you wondering what to do about your Medicare health coverage.

Here’s the good news—these scenarios make you eligible for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)! With this new opportunity to change coverage, you may be able to gain additional benefits like vision, dental, hearing, fitness, wellness, or prescription drug coverage.

Understanding Medicare Special Enrollment Periods

Medicare enrollment is typically only possible during a few designated times of year, with the major time for changes being the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period in the fall. But that means people who have a change in their situation could be stuck without the coverage they need. So the Medicare Special Enrollment Periods exist to serve people in special circumstances by allowing them to enroll in plans outside the standard enrollment periods.

Ensuring You Don’t Miss Your Special Enrollment Period

Special Enrollment Periods are generally one to three months long but the time varies depending on the particular circumstance. To be sure you don’t miss your enrollment period, you may want to enroll in a Medicare plan within a few weeks of your situation changing.

Enrolling During a Medicare Special Enrollment Period

It’s a good idea to compare Medicare plans from multiple insurance carriers in your area to make the most of your opportunity to change coverage and find the plan that best fits your needs. The Medicare Online Enrollment Portal makes it easy to compare Medicare Advantage Plans with a side-by-side breakdown of benefits and costs. Once you find a plan that’s great for you, enrollment is just a few clicks away through a clear and guided process.

Don’t like the do-it-yourself route? You can call us for a personalized, no-cost consultation with one of our Medicare Advocates. We’re here to answer questions about your Medicare Special Enrollment Period and assist you in finding, comparing, and enrolling in a plan. Call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday.