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Posted 12/13/2021 in News

Disenrollment Period for Medicare Advantage

Disenrollment Period for Medicare Advantage

Disenrollment Period for Medicare Advantage

There are several reasons you may choose to disenroll from Medicare Advantage. You may have moved to an area where Advantage plans are limited, you may need to switch to a provider that is not in your plan's network, or you may just feel that you would be better served by Original Medicare with a Medicare supplement.

While there are specific rules that govern this process based on why you are disenrolling from Medicare Advantage, today we're going to discuss the disenrollment period that is allowed each year from January 1 through February 14.

Available Options During the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

No matter how long you have been enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can leave the plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). Whether you've been in an Advantage plan for years or if you just joined during the most recent Annual Election Period, you can use the disenrollment period to move back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). 

If you disenroll, your disenrollment begins on the first of the month after you make the request. For example, if you disenroll on January 20, your plan will end on January 31, and your Original Medicare will be effective on February 1.

You'll want to be certain of when your current coverage ends so that you make the right provider choices. When you are enrolled in an Advantage plan, especially if it is an HMO plan, you must see doctors within that network. If you switch providers, make sure you do so once your new coverage begins to avoid paying any out-of-network costs.

You'll need to consider a couple of coverage options before you submit your Medicare Advantage disenrollment request. First, you'll need to choose a Part D prescription drug plan. Prescription drug benefits are not covered by Parts A and B, and if you do not join a Part D plan, you'll incur a penalty. (Part D penalties stick with you for life, so be sure to get coverage as soon as you're eligible!) When you choose a Part D plan, make sure the effective date is going to take place as soon as your Medicare Advantage plan ends. This will ensure you avoid a penalty and don't have any lapse in coverage.

Second, you'll want to consider enrolling in a Medicare supplement, also called a Medigap plan. A Medicare supplement will help cover the costs that remain after Parts A and B have paid their share. There are a variety of Medicare supplements to choose from, and you can use these at any provider who also accepts Original Medicare. This is very unlike Medicare Advantage plans, which require you to choose a provider within the plan's network.

That being said, you will likely need to pass medical underwriting to join a Medigap plan. This could be a problem for those with serious health concerns. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart issues, COPD, and other medical concerns will probably not be able to pass the medical underwriting needed to obtain a Medicare supplement. (Some states have unique rules, so medical underwriting does not always apply.) If you are unable to enroll in a Medigap plan, continuing your current plan with Medicare Advantage may be your only option.

Things You Cannot Do During the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

During the MADP, you cannot switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. (Technically, you can make a one-time change to your current Medicare Advantage plan during these dates as they also fall during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.)

Switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another is typically done during the Annual Election Period (AEP) that we mentioned earlier. The AEP occurs every fall from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can enroll in an Advantage for the first time, switch current plans, or choose to return to Original Medicare. Any changes made during AEP go into effect on January 1 of the upcoming year.

To put things simply, the only thing you can do during the MADP is disenroll in Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare.

If you are considering a change to your Medicare Advantage plan, whether that is switching plans or moving back to Original Medicare, you can go to https://CertifiedMedicareAgents.com for help. Even if the MADP is not currently in effect, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. We can help you determine if you are eligible at this particular time or if you need to wait for a certain enrollment period to begin. 

This was originally posted on CertifiedMedicareAgents.com.