Thinking 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.
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.