I recently attended a local Medicare Advantage informational workshop because my Medicare Supplement Plan F is costing me $260 a month and was going to join the plan. A friend introduced me to your articles explaining the various Parts and Plans of Medicare. Now I am having second thoughts.
My questions are regarding what happens if I change to an Advantage plan and find out it is not working for me after January 1.
Theresa from Tulsa, OK
Hi there, Theresa,
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period ends this year on Wednesday, December 7th at midnight, and those who have made changes to their Medicare Advantage Part C or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan should receive their new insurance card by Sunday, January 1, 2023.
Theresa, below are the answers to your two questions:
Yes, you can return to Original Medicare, but your window of time is small. The time to change your Medicare Advantage Plan with Part D (MAPD), for those that have second thoughts after December 7th, is from January 1 to March 31 and is known as Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). Whether you are approved by a new Medicare Supplement is another issue because you will have to answer medical underwriting questions to qualify. Since you currently have a Medicare Supplement, you may consider not canceling your Medicare Supplement until after March 31st to be sure you are satisfied with your new Medicare Advantage plan, especially if you have a health issue.
Yes. Enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan will disenroll you from your Medicare Advantage plan. During Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can only disenroll from your current Medicare Advantage Plan and enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare only by enrolling in a standalone Part D Medicare Prescription Drug plan. That answers your question about enrolling in a new Part D plan when you leave your Medicare Advantage plan after January 1st.
On page 72 of my Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, I explain how you can disenroll from the Medicare Advantage Plan during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) which is from January 1-March 31each year.
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) you can switch from your Medicare Advantage Plan to another MA Plan, or to Original Medicare with or without a Part D plan. You can only use this period if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan not to change a standalone Medicare Part D plan.
To disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan after March 31st, you cannot because you are in Medicare’s “lock in” from April 1st to December 31st. You will now have to wait until the next Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which begins October 15 thru December 7th to change to a different MA plan or return to Original Medicare.
At the Toni Says® office, we always advise Medicare clients to call all their doctors to see which Medicare Advantage plans the healthcare professional or medical facility accepts.
Theresa, you are spending about $260 on a Medicare Supplement and want something less expensive with the same access to doctors that accept “Original Medicare”, there may be a less expensive option. You might consider shopping for different, less expensive Medicare supplements such as Plan G or even Plan N.
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Originally published November 21, 2022