Medicare Advantage 2020 update
As of 2019, the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period has been replaced by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). This new period is longer and allows plan switchers more options. Learn more about MA OEP.
The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) is from January 1 to February 14 every year. The date doesn’t change from year to year. During this period, you can leave your Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, also referred to as Part A and Part B. You can also enroll in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan during this time.
What Exactly Can You Do During this Disenrollment Period?
During the MADP, you can leave your Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan and return to Part A and Part B, no matter how long you’ve been a member of that plan. But that isn’t all you can do during the MADP.
You can also join a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan when you return to traditional Part A and B. Whether the MA Plan, also referred to as Part C, you are leaving includes prescription drug coverage or not, you can add Part D when you switch back to Part A and Part B.
Since original coverage doesn’t cover prescription drugs, you will want to consider Part D when you switch back. If you don’t have prescription drug coverage when you switch for more than 63 consecutive days, Medicare can penalize you.
When Will You Be Officially Disenrolled?
Your disenrollment should become active the first month after you speak with either Medicare or your plan about disenrolling from your Advantage plan. For example, if you request to leave your plan in February, you will be officially disenrolled on March 1.
It’s important that you know when you have officially left your Part C Plan. If you start receiving treatment from providers who are not in your plan’s network before the day that you are disenrolled, you may not be covered or you may have to pay more. If you have a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan or a Special Needs Plan, your plan will not pay for your care from out-of-network providers.
If you are adding on Part D benefits, try to join a prescription drug plan as close to the time that you disenroll from your Advantage plan as possible. Otherwise, you may run into a gap in drug coverage. For example, if you disenroll from an Advantage plan on January 31 and you join a prescription drug plan on February 1, you will begin getting covered by Part A and B on February 1. However, you would not start receiving your prescription drug benefits until March 1.
When Else Can You Leave Your Plan?
The MADP isn’t the only time that you can leave your plan. You can also return to Part A and Part B during the Open Enrollment Period, which occurs from October 15 to December 7 each year. You can also join a prescription drug plan during this time.
Finally, you may also have the opportunity to switch back at another time throughout the year if you have a Special Enrollment Period. These periods occur under special circumstances, like if you dropped your Supplement plan for the first time and joined an Advantage plan within the past 12 months.
Learn more about Medicare Advantage plans here.
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