What happens if you don’t renew a Medicare plan?

October 5, 2021

Whether you deal with a chronic condition or you simply want to ensure that your future health care needs are met at the lowest possible cost, Medicare provides peace of mind for all beneficiaries. But what happens if you forget to renew your plan?

Most Medicare Plans Renew Automatically

Good news! Medicare plans typically renew automatically. This is true for Medicare Part A, Part B, and Medicare Supplement Insurance policies. Medicare Advantage and Part D plans will renew if the same plan exists the following year. Those plans, however, will likely change in some way year-to-year.

Since the process takes care of itself year after year, you rarely have to take action to renew Medicare coverage. That means you can look forward to uninterrupted coverage in each new year.

What to Do If You Receive a Plan Non-Renewal Notice

While most Medicare plans automatically renew, not all do. A Plan Non-Renewal Notice signals that your plan will be leaving the Medicare program in the upcoming year. That means your plan won’t auto-renew and you’ll need to choose a new plan in order to maintain coverage.

According to Medicare.gov, any plan that intends to make changes during the upcoming calendar year must send you a letter to that effect by October. The reason for this timing is that the Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period goes from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year. If your plan will stop, you’ll need to select a new one during this period. If you don’t, your coverage could terminate and leave you without health insurance.

What to Do When You Receive an Annual Notice of Change

If you have Medicare Advantage or Part D (Prescription Drug Plans), you will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) in the mail. Your plan will still renew automatically, but numerous changes may take effect in the new year. Look for the ANOC to arrive in September or October (which allows you to take advantage of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, if you need to change plans).

You’ll get an ANOC every year. These notices detail a wide variety of changes to the plan for the upcoming calendar year. They could include everything from a list of covered drugs, to which pharmacies can dispense medications, to the premiums and other costs related to the plan.

Since private insurers provide Medicare Advantage and Part D, the costs and benefits have the potential to change drastically every year. It’s in your best interest to read your ANOC carefully to figure out how much your health care will cost. If you’ll lose coverage for drugs you need or if your costs will increase exponentially, consider changing plans. Depending on your state, you may have several options.

When You Should Consider Changing Medicare Coverage

You can’t change Medicare coverage at any time you choose, but you have the right to shop around for different options during the Annual Enrollment Period. During this time, you can change your coverage in a few ways:

  • Leave Original Medicare and get a Medicare Advantage Plan instead.
  • Leave your Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch Medicare Advantage Plans.
  • Purchase a new Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage.
  • Switch Medicare Part D plans.
  • Cancel your Medicare Part D plan.

While you have the most leeway to change coverage options during the Annual Enrollment Period, this isn’t the only time you can make changes. If you’re interested in learning about your other Medicare options, and when you’re eligible for a new plan, contact a SmartMatch™ licensed insurance agent at (888) 411-7647. You can also visit our Plan Comparison Tool on our website.

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