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Canceling Medicare Advantage? Annual Dis-enrollment Period Is Your Opportunity

Yellow Figure with Ink StampThinking of canceling your Medicare Advantage Plan? The Annual Dis-enrollment Period gives you one opportunity

The Medicare Advantage program gives you the opportunity to compare Medicare Advantage plans and enroll in the plan that you believe best suits your circumstances on an annual basis.

The Annual Enrollment Period begins each year on October 15th and ends December 7th.

But what if you choose the wrong plan and are thinking of canceling your Medicare Advantage Plan?

In years past you could make like-to-like plan changes during the Open Enrollment Period which began January 1 and ended March 31. But the open Enrollment Period has been eliminated and replaced with the Annual Dis-enrollment Period. The Annual Dis-enrollment Period begins January 1st and ends February 14th, lasting for only 45 days.

What is allowed during the Annual Dis-enrollment Period?

The Annual Dis-enrollment period is designed to allow you to do one thing: Cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan membership and return to original Medicare. Once you cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan you have a couple of choices.

  • Return to original Medicare and purchase a stand-alone Part D Plan.
  • Purchase a Medigap policy and a stand-alone Part D Plan.

Original Medicare and Part D – Too Many Gaps?

In both instances you will be returning to original Medicare. The real option will be if you choose to purchase a Medicare supplement otherwise known as a Medigap policy. You will also have the freedom to compare Part D plans and enroll in a plan that will best meet your needs.

If you find that you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan after February 14th you will be locked into the plan for the remainder of the year unless you can prove the plan was misrepresented to you or the plan did not meet their contractual obligations.

If you do exercise your right to dis-enroll from an Advantage Plan you will have the opportunity to compare plans again in the next year’s Enrollment period.

If you dis-enroll from your Advantage Plan you can compare all Part D and Medicare supplement plans online though ehealthInsurance, a leading provider of Medicare options. If you would prefer to speak with one of their licensed agents call them toll-free at 888 310-0376.

A word of caution

First, if you have not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and there is still time remaining in the Annual Enrollment Period, decide now if an Advantage Plan is right for you. If so, enroll in the plan of your choice. You will not have an opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan after the Annual Enrollment Period ends unless you are afforded a Special Enrollment Period due to some change of circumstance.

Also, if you have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and are uncertain of your choice or have learned some information that leads you to believe that you made the wrong choice and there is still time remaining in the Annual Enrollment Period; submit an application for the plan that you would rather have.

The last application submitted during this enrollment period will be the plan that becomes effective January 1st. You can submit multiple applications during the Annual Enrollment Period. It’s the last one submitted prior to the enrollment period ending that counts.

If you do decide that canceling your Medicare Advantage Plan membership is the right thing to do, make certain you can either afford the cost-sharing required by original Medicare or can afford the premiums for a Medicare supplement.

If you do cancel your Advantage Plan make certain that you enroll in a Part D plan prior to February 14. Procrastinating will leave you without Part D coverage for the remainder of the year.


  1. sir,i want enroll original medicare and perchesa stand alone part d plan

  2. Mohanlal, You will need to speak with a local agent to purchase a Part D Plan. This site does not sell insurance.

  3. I found out that if I need a certain surgeon, he’s not covered by the advantage plan I picked because they said medicare doesn’t pay enough.

  4. I can’t believe that the medicare advantage plans are for the elderly or disabled and yet where do they expect people to get the money required for all of the raised co-pays? I’ve been told I need physical therapy. Well, I can’t get it because I don’t have the money for the co-pays so I live with the pain.

    Isn’t there a better way to treat the elderly and the disabled? I have actually said to some doctors, “It’s all about the money in the health care system” and the doctors said, “unfortunately, that’s true”. Remember, the love of money is the root of all evil. I think the whole health care system needs to be revamped so that it’s about the people instead of the $$$$$$$$$$$.


  5. Mary, You certainly make some valid points which many people will agree with. Your experience should be a warning to younger people who are not yet eligible for Medicare. That is: Don’t expect the government to provide all of your health care. It’s not going to happen. Given the fact that 10,000 people per day are turning 65 (Baby Boomers) and the younger generation will not be able to shoulder the tax burden… plan now. If you are 30 or 50 years old learn to live without the latest toy, save your money and take some responsibility. Twenty or thirty years from now we may be looking back at this time as the golden age of subsidized health care.

  6. I am disabled and I am forced to picked between just a few Medicare advantage plan in the state of Az. There are no Medigap plans out there or people that are on disability. If we are on disability does the government not think we also need the Medigap policies before we turn 65? How unfair is that? So we are forced to pay the high copays for both doctors and medications, especially if there are no generic drugs for your disability. I fall under where my husband and I just barely meet the guidelines that I do not qualify for additional help, so I have to choose which medications I can really afford. I agree with Mary the whole system needs revamped. I worked in the medical billing system for 40 yrs before I became disabled. I was a Business Office Manager,so I know how the system really worked then, I have been out of it for 6 yrs and it gets worse every day.

  7. Jean, I know how frustrating it can be, I’ve had close friends in the same situation. The issue with you being under 65 and on Medicare due to a disability and unable to purchase a Medigap policy is a State issue. Insurance such as Medigap is regulated by the States. Some States require insurance companies to offer Medigap to those on Medicare due to a disability. From what you are saying it sounds as though Arizona does not. The catch 22…. if the federal government required Medigap to be sold to all Medicare beneficiaries regardless of their State of residency then the individual States would band together to file suit against the federal government much like the 26 States suing related to health Care Reform.

  8. I am currently with AARP Medicare advantage with secure horizons. It is an HMO. I have a chronic pain condition called CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). I can not receive any medical care or procedures for my condition through the HMO. I am told that to go to the doctors I need to and to have the procedures I need done, I must either have a PPO insurance or straight Medicare. My HMO will not let me drop them or change to a PPO within their company. And I can not get a PPO on my own until I can drop them. With the guidelines for open enrollment….I will not have ANY medical care until January of 2012. This is not acceptable with the condition I have.

    They do have special circumstances for dropping or changing…..but thats only if you move or loose your job and coverage. NOT if you just plain can not get medical care! That makes not sense at all to me.

    ANY help you could give would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!

  9. Pattie, I wish I had an answer for you that would help, but the rules that govern Medicare Advantage are backed by legislation. your only opportunity to change prior to the Annual Enrollment Period is if you have a Special Enrollment Period available. Do you by any chance receive extra help with your drug costs? That would also give you a Special Enrollment Period.

  10. Yes,
    I have an advantage plan and want to change during the dis-enrollment period of Jan 1 to Feb 14. I have cancer and am currently under treatment. Do I have automatic acceptance to company such as an AARP supplement? I have cancer and I am taking chemo.
    Thank You,
    Dan List

  11. Dan, Unless you qualify for Medigap Guaranteed Issue Rights you will probably be required to undergo an underwriting process. Here’s a Medicare publication that can help you determine if you are entitled to these rights.

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