We just got through the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans. You may have through you were finished for the year, and if you’re happy with your plan, then you don’t need to think about your health plan again until October. But if you or someone you know has a Medicare Advantage plan and wants to shop around, now is the time to do that.

The period we are in from now through February 14th is called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. This period allows you to do a few things:

  • Leave a Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare
  • Add a Prescription Plan if you do end up going back to Original Medicare

Why might you want to do this?

You don’t like all the copays and deductibles from your Medicare Advantage plan. By the time you finish paying for Medicare Part B and then a premium for Medicare Advantage, you may not want to then pay for doctor visits, tests, and all the rest of the out-of-pocket costs. And in 2015, many Medicare Advantage plans require you to keep paying for services until you hit a ceiling of more than $6,000.

You feel like you could get a plan that better serves your needs. Perhaps you are starting to travel more, or bought a summer home somewhere out of state. Maybe your doctors are leaving the network for your plan. Having a Medicare Advantage plan has many conveniences, but also a lot of structure that may no longer work for your particular situation.

You are in good health and would like to “insure against the future.” Medicare Advantage plans will always be there for you. In any given Annual Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15th to December 7th, you can elect to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. However, Medicare supplement, or Medigap plans, require underwriting if you are outside of certain specific time periods. If you are in good health and want to make sure you get the most comprehensive coverage, now might be the time to apply for a Medicare supplement plan, while you’re still in good health.

Some tips for this period of time:

  • If you have been on Medicare Advantage for less than 1 year, you have a guaranteed issue period to opt into a Medicare supplement plan without proof of insurability (meaning, even if you’re not in good health).
  • If you would like to get into a Medicare supplement plan and don’t qualify for a special guaranteed issue period, you need to apply as soon as possible to see if you will be accepted.
  • If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan and don’t have another supplemental policy, you will be allowed to join a Prescription Drug Plan but you will not have any other medical supplement policy.

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is a useful period when you can make changes without waiting for a whole year. Used wisely, you can make some excellent changes to your health care. Please see the official page on the medicare.gov website for an official review of this information.

Have questions? Please leave comments below, or contact us using the information at the right.

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