The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) occurs every year from January 1 to February 14. If you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, you will be able to switch to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone prescription drug plan as long as you do so before February 14.
Sometimes we hear from callers on our helpline who did not realize their plan’s network of providers or the prescription drugs they cover would be changing in the New Year. Other times they are not satisfied with the Medicare Advantage plan they chose during the Fall Open Enrollment period. For these people, it might make sense to switch to Original Medicare.
Changes made during the MADP will become effective the first of the following month. For example, if you switch from an MA plan to Original Medicare and a stand-alone prescription drug plan in February, your new coverage would begin March 1. If you are enrolled in a Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan with a stand-alone drug plan, you must keep your stand-alone prescription drug plan if you switch to Original Medicare during the MADP. If you are already enrolled in Original Medicare, you cannot switch your plan during this time.
It is important to note that if you disenroll from your MA plan, federal law does not usually give you the right to buy a Medigap plan, which is a supplemental policy that helps pay for Original Medicare deductibles and coinsurances. The laws vary in each state and might be more or less lenient. Check with your SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) to find out if and when you can enroll in a Medigap plan in your state.
For more information about the MADP, visit Medicare Interactive (www.medicareinteractive.org), the Medicare Rights Center’s free online counseling tool.
To learn more about your options to switch from your MA plan to Original Medicare or change your coverage, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).