Clock is Ticking for Medicare Advantage Plan Members to Switch to Original Medicare
—Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period Ends February 14—
New York, NY—People with Medicare who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan can switch to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), which occurs every year from January 1 to February 14.
“At this time of year, we often get calls on our helpline from people who discover that their Medicare Advantage plan’s network of providers or the prescription drugs it covers have changed in 2018. Others are dissatisfied with the MA plan they picked during Fall Open Enrollment,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national, nonprofit consumer service organization. “These individuals have the option of switching to Original Medicare, as long as they do so by February 14.”
Changes made during the MADP will become effective the first of the following month. For example, if someone switched from a MA plan to Original Medicare and a stand-alone prescription drug plan in February, their new coverage would begin March 1. If someone is enrolled in a Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan with a stand-alone drug plan, they must keep their stand-alone prescription drug plan if they switch to Original Medicare during the MADP. If someone is already enrolled in Original Medicare, they cannot switch their plan during this time.
It is important to note that if someone disenrolls from their MA plan, federal law does not usually give them the right to buy a Medigap plan, supplemental polices that help pay for Original Medicare deductibles and coinsurances. The laws vary in each state and might be more or less lenient. People should check with their SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) to find out if and when they can enroll in a Medigap plan in their state.
For more information about the MADP, visit Medicare Interactive (www.medicareinteractive.org), the Medicare Rights Center’s free online counseling tool.
To learn more about options to switch from a MA plan to Original Medicare or change coverage, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).