Unhappy with Medicare Advantage? Disenroll by Feb.14th!

Are you unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan (Plan C)? Do you want to go back to Original Medicare? Did you miss your chance to disenroll during the open enrollment period? YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Perhaps you were misinformed about what is covered in your plan. Maybe you cannot find a satisfactory provider who takes your plan. Maybe your premium has increased. There are a myriad of reasons consumers are unhappy with their Medicare Advantage Plan.

If you are dissatisfied with your Medicare Advantage Plan, now is the time to take action!

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) starts January 1st and runs through February 14th of each year.  During this period, Medicare beneficiaries can switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan (PART C) to Original Medicare (PARTS A and B). Note, you can only make this coverage change if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan.

During this period (ending February 14), you can also enroll in a Part D (prescription drug coverage) Plan through Medicare, UNLESS you have an existing stand-alone prescription plan that is separate from your Medicare Advantage Plan.

Every year your needs can change. Just because one plan worked for you in the past, does not mean your needs won’t change the following year.

To leave a Medicare Advantage Plan and ensure that the change is reflected immediately, call 1-800-MEDICARE directly and ask the Medicare representative to disenroll you from your Medicare Advantage Plan. You will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when you disenroll.

Image courtesy of ncoa.org

It is best to finish disenrolling and enrolling in a Part D plan by the end of January to ensure a smooth transition and no gap in coverage. Here is more about that:

  1. Your disenrollment goes into effect on the first day of the month following the date Medicare receives the disenrollment request.
  2. You should enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) and/or Medigap Plan* (IF YOUR STATE ALLOWS – SEE NOTE BELOW) as close to the time of disenrollment from the Medicare Advantage plan as possible in order to avoid having a gap in drug coverage.  For example, if you disenroll from an Medicare Advantage plan on January 31 and enroll in a prescription drug plan (PDP) on February 1, you would return to traditional Medicare on February 1, but would not have drug coverage until March 1.

If you start researching your options now it will pay off for you in 2017.

So, how do you find a new prescription plan?

Medicare.gov has a tool to help you find and compare different Part D prescription plans in your area. You have the option to do a general search or a personalized search (have your Medicare info handy). You can find out which plans cover your prescriptions and your preferred pharmacies. Remember, you can only enroll for a Plan D (Prescription Plan) if you do not have a stand-alone prescription plan already.

If your prescription is not covered, or the price is rather high, ask your pharmacist to see if you can get a better discount by signing up for and using this Medicare Plus Card.

*Note: If you disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan federal law does not usually give you the right to buy a Medigap plan. The laws in your state might give you more rights. Medigap plans are supplemental polices that help pay for Original Medicare deductibles and coinsurances. You should check with your SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) to find out if and when you can enroll in a Medigap plan in your state. 


Sources: Medicare.gov, Cms.gov, Medicareadvocacy.org, Medicarerights.org, www.ncoa.org/wp-content/uploads/MA-Closer-Look-MADP.pdf, https://www.medicarerights.org/pdf/Why-Consumers-Disenroll-from-MA.pdf

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