Switching Your Medicare SNP Plan

Changing Plans or leaving a Special Needs Program to return to Original Medicare can be done every year by anyone during the Annual Enrollment Period. This year this is between October 15th- December 7th.

Special Enrollment is always available to some SNP Patients

Anyone who is Dual-eligible can switch his or her SNP Plan once a year at any time. Other people also qualify for Special Enrollment and this will let them switch their plan at any time during the year. If your plan drops you, you will be given Special Enrollment so that you can switch plans. If you move out of the plan's area you also qualify for Special Enrollment and can switch plans. If the plan is discontinued you will be allowed to switch plans. Moreover, if the plan has misled you in any way you may be eligible for Special Enrollment and be able to switch plans. During 2012 anyone can also opt to switch plans in order to enroll in a 5-star Plan. This can be done at any time of the year.

Before switching plans, make sure you do adequate amounts of research and choose a new plan that meets your needs more completely than your current plan.

Auntie Lou says, "Watch out, the grass always seems greener, but it rarely is!"

Changing SNP Plans means changing you entire Plan Network in some cases. For chronically ill patients this is a big decision. One question to ask yourself is: "Am I willing to give up the care of all my providers for unknown new providers if they are not covered by the new plan?" You can ask your current providers if they are included in the provider network for the new plan. In addition, try to evaluate the energy and time you have for learning a new insurance system. SNP Plans are all organized and managed differently. This means that switching plans will mean learning a new system and a new set of rules and regulations. Sometimes the stress of the learning curve and new providers isn't really worth the little bit of extra money you might save. Take a good objective look at all of the pluses and minus of switching plans on a piece of paper. Compare both the financial gains and the non-quantifiable gains and costs, and then switch plans if the "advantages to switching" list is substantially longer. Sometimes it is helpful to do this with a family member or a close friend.