Do I Need to Renew My Medicare Coverage?
In general, once you’re enrolled in Medicare, you don’t need to take action to renew your coverage every year. This is true whether you are in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Medicare prescription drug plan. As long as you continue to pay any necessary premiums, your Medicare coverage should automatically renew every year with a few exceptions as described below.
There are some exceptions where you’ll need to take action to continue your coverage. Some situations where your Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan coverage won’t be automatically renewed include, but aren’t limited to:
- Your plan reduces its service area, and you now live outside of its coverage area.
- Your plan doesn’t renew its Medicare contract for the upcoming year.
- Your plan leaves the Medicare program in the middle of the year.
- Medicare terminates its contract with your plan.
If your Medicare plan doesn’t renew its contract with Medicare for the coming year, your Special Election Period will run from December 8 to the last day of February of the following year. If you have Medicare Advantage and don’t enroll in a new plan by the date that your current plan ends its contract with Medicare, you’ll be automatically returned to Original Medicare.
Keep in mind that your new coverage starts on the first day of the month after you submit your enrollment application, meaning if you apply on February 8, your new Medicare plan wouldn’t begin until March 1.
You’ll also get a three-month Special Election Period if your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan terminates its contract with Medicare. This period starts two months before the contract ends and runs an additional month after the contract ends. If Medicare terminates your plan’s contract, you will have a Special Election Period that begins 1 month before the termination effective date and ends 2 months after the effective date of the termination.
While you may not need to renew your Medicare coverage, it’s still a good idea to review your coverage annually. Benefits, provider and pharmacy networks, drug formularies, and cost sharing can all change from year to year and affect how much you pay out of pocket. Comparing plans annually is one way to make sure your coverage continues to meet your health needs and budget.
If you need help finding a plan that could work for you, you can type your zip code into the form on this page to see a list of Medicare plans in your vicinity.