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Special Enrollment Period for Service Area Reduction (SAR SEP): When your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan is cancelled or not offered next year.


If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD) or Medicare Part D plan (PDP) that is no longer offered next year (and you are not "crosswalked" or transferred  to another Medicare plan), you will be without Medicare plan coverage starting January 1st - unless you enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan that is being offered for the next plan year.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD) that will be discontinued next year, you will be returned to your Original Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage.

If your discontinued Medicare Advantage plan included prescription drug coverage (MAPD), you will also be without prescription coverage for the next year - again, unless you enroll in a another Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD) or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).

How many people are usually affected by Medicare plan terminations?

2021/2022: Almost 190,000 people are currently enrolled in non-renewing 2021 Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans and may lose their Medicare plan coverage unless they choose to enroll in another 2022 Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan.

2020/2021: Over 1.1 million people are currently enrolled in non-renewing 2020 Medicare Advantage plans and may lose their  Medicare plan coverage unless they choose to enroll in a different 2021 Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan.

2019/2020: Over 1.1 million people enrolled in non-renewing 2019 Medicare Advantage plans may lose their 2020 Medicare plan coverage.

2018/2019: Over 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in non-renewing 2018 Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans - with 1.44 million people enrolled in 2018 Medicare Advantage plans (MA and MAPD) that were being discontinued in 2019.  And 87,000 people enrolled in stand-alone 2018 Medicare Part D plans (PDP) that were no longer offered in 2019.

2017/2018: Over 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in non-renewing 2017 Medicare Advantage  plans that were discontinued in 2018.

Important:  You have two specific opportunities to join another Medicare plan when your Medicare plan is discontinued.

(1) You can join a new Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP or Annual Coordinated Election Period) that runs each year from October 15th through December 7th.  If you join a new Medicare plan during the AEP, your coverage will begin January 1st.

(2) If you miss your annual enrollment opportunity (AEP), you will be granted a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) allowing you to join a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan outside of during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).  Because your Medicare plan is not being offered next year, your Service Area Reduction Special Enrollment Period (SEP SAR) begins on December 8 and continues through the end of February.

Note:  Other SEPs may be available to you and, if you miss either of these two enrollment periods (AEP or SAR SEP),  you should contact a Medicare representative (1-800-Medicare) and ask about other opportunities to join a Medicare plan .

Your Medicare plan enrollment becomes effective the first day of the month after enrollment.  For example, if you use the SAR SEP and enroll on December 20th, you still will have Medicare plan coverage starting January 1st.  But if you enroll into a new Medicare plan during February, your coverage begins on March 1st - and you will be without Medicare plan coverage for January and February.

The difference between Medicare plan mergers, consolidations, and terminations.

But, please note:  If you are in a Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan that is being merged or consolidated into another Medicare plan, then you are not enrolled in a non-renewing Medicare plan or a Medicare plan that is being terminated next year - and this means that if your current Medicare plan is being changed to another Medicare plan next year (or consolidated) with different coverage, you are not eligible for the SAR SEP that is reserved for plan non-renewals or terminations.  (Also, if your Medicare plan is being merged into another plan, you may be told that you are being "cross walked" into another plan next year).

EXAMPLE #1 - Your Medicare Advantage plan is no longer offered next year

If you are enrolled in 2021 Medicare Advantage plan "ABC" and it is not offered in 2022 due to the plan's termination, you should choose a different Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period.  But if you miss the December 7th AEP enrollment deadline, you will still be granted a Special Enrollment Period (SAR SEP) giving you more time to join a 2022 Medicare plan. The SAR Special Enrollment Period starts December 8th and continues through the end of February with plan coverage starting the first day of the month after enrollment.  If you do not join a Medicare plan before the end of the SAR SEP, you will be without Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage for the remainder of the year - unless you can take advantage of another Special Enrollment Period.

EXAMPLE #2 - Your Medicare Advantage plan is being merged into another plan next year

If you are enrolled in 2021 Medicare Advantage plan "ABC" and this plan is being consolidated into 2022 Medicare Advantage plan "XYZ", you will need to either accept the change into the 2022 Medicare "XYZ" plan or change Medicare plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th through December 7th).  If you miss the December 7th AEP enrollment deadline, you will be enrolled in Medicare Advantage plan "XYZ" for 2022, unless you can find some other Special Enrollment Period that applies to you.   But the Service Area Reduction Special Enrollment Period (SAR SEP) is not available to you.

Important: Annual Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plan changes and plan crosswalks (reassignments) can be viewed in our PDP-Compare and MA-Compare tools.

These Q1Medicare tools highlight changes in Medicare plan features from one plan year to the next and can be accessed directly at PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com.

As a short-cut to Medicare Part D plans, you can go right to your state by following the link with your state code: for example: PDP-Compare.com/FL.  For Medicare Advantage plans, following the MA-Compare link with your ZIP code: For example: MA-Compare.com/90001.





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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.