If you signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP), you are not locked into that plan for an entire year if you have decided that the plan you chose is not your best option for 2014.
Regardless of whether you have recently joined a Medicare Advantage plan or have been enrolled in Medicare Advantage for years, the Jan. 1-February 14 Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is something to mark on your calendar.
During the Disenrollment Period for Medicare Advantage, you can:
- Return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B
- Apply for a Medicare supplement
- Enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
You may not switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan during the Jan. 1-Feb. 14 Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. You also may not switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan or switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another. The 2014 Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicare Open Enrollment Period will be your next opportunity to take any of these steps.
Your only options during the Jan. 1-Feb. 14, 2014, Disenrollment Period for Medicare Advantage are to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, apply for a Medicare supplement (Medigap) plan, and/or enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan.
Why consider switching from Medicare Advantage to Medigap?
- While Medicare Advantage premiums are lower than Medigap premiums—and many Medicare Advantage plans are premium-free—some plans have hidden costs that you may only recently have become aware of. Medicare supplement plans, meanwhile, are known to be budget-friendly, making it easier to predict how much you will be paying and how much you will be saving.
- While Medicare Advantage plans are mainly network-based, Medigap is noted for flexibility. Supplement plans do not limit you to a network of providers. If you travel frequently, this is an important consideration.
If you think Medicare supplement insurance is better suited to your healthcare priorities and budget than your current Medicare Advantage plan is, it is important to look at Medicare supplement options before disenrolling from your current plan. The best way to start is by getting a free Medicare supplement insurance quote and becoming familiar with all your Medigap options. Call MedicareMall toll-free at (877) 413-1556 to discuss the best and most cost-efficient Medicare supplement options available to you.
Also, keep in mind:
- Medicare supplements, like Medicare Advantage, require you to continue paying the Medicare Part B premium.
- While most Medicare Advantage plans cover prescription drugs, Medicare supplement plans do not. For prescription drug coverage to go along with a Medicare supplement plan, you’ll need to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan.
It is also important to remember that if you decide to drop your Medicare Advantage plan and apply for a Medicare supplement, you should do so early enough to learn whether your application is accepted prior to February 14th. You should not drop your Medicare Advantage plan until you’re certain you’ll be able to get a Medicare supplement policy to replace it.
If my current Medicare Advantage plan includes prescription drug coverage, can I switch only the drug coverage?
No, you cannot. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD), you will automatically be disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage plan if you enroll in a stand-alone Part D plan.
If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan without prescription drug coverage, you have every right to drop your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, return to Original Medicare, and enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan by Feb. 14. Your coverage will begin the month after the plan receives your enrollment form.
If for any reason you are thinking about disenrolling from your Medicare Advantage plan, you should not delay weighing the advantages and disadvantages of doing so and investigating the available alternatives. Unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period during the coming months, your next opportunity to drop your current Medicare Advantage plan won’t occur until the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 2014 Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Keep in mind that decisions you make during the Jan. 1-Feb. 14 Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period are decisions you should be prepared to live with until January 1, 2015, the date that any changes you may choose to make during the 2014 Medicare Open Enrollment Period will take effect.
Contact MedicareMall to discuss your Medicare Advantage Disenrollment options with an experienced, licensed professional. There is no obligation and no cost, and the savings may be substantial.
If you’ve decided to switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap, leave a comment telling us why!
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