Medicare Advantage plans are annual plans. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you should be aware that things can change the following year, including having your plan not renew.
Each year there are a large number of plans that do not renew as carriers focus on more profitable markets. Companies that offer Medicare Advantage are able to do so on a County by County basis.
You are protected for the remainder of the year and are afforded a Special Enrollment Period is your plan doesn’t renew.
These plan disruptions will be primary caused by one of two circumstances.
Your Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
If your plan is not renewing for the following year, it will be spelled out in your Medicare Annual Notice of Change. You will typically receive this notice in September.
The SEP for the members who are impacted by plans not renewing will be from October 1st through January 31st. During this time you have some options.
- Your current carrier may have another plan that you find suitable.
- You can enroll in an Advantage plan offered by another carrier.
- You can return to original Medicare and purchase a stand-alone Part D drug plan.
- You can buy a Medigap policy on a guaranteed issue basis and enroll a stand-alone Part D drug plan.
If your Advantage plan is not renewing you are afforded some protections for the remainder of the year. Your carrier is required to honor their contract and provide coverage through December 31st.
- You will still be able to use your plan during this time.
- Claims for services will continue to be paid.
- Customer service will still assist you with any problems or concerns.
If you receive a notice that your Medicare Advantage plan will not be available for the following year there is no need to panic. Now is the time to start shopping for another Advantage plan or start to explore Medicare supplement options. A Medicare supplement policy will offer the same benefits year after year as long as you continue to pay your premiums. Medicare Supplement Plan N is a good alternative to an Advantage plan.
It is easiest to compare Medicare Advantage plans online or visit the Medicare website and take the time to navigate to plans available in your area. Which ever way you decide to go, don’t let your Medicare Advantage plan non-renewal discourage you. After all it was an annual plan when you enrolled.