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Last Chance for Medicare Advantage Plan Members to Switch to Original Medicare

February 10, 2016  
•  Press Releases

Last Chance for Medicare Advantage Plan Members to Switch to Original Medicare
— Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period Ends February 14  —

New York, NY—People with Medicare who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan can switch to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), which occurs every year from January 1 to February 14.

“If you have a Medicare Advantage 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,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. “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.”

For anyone who has an MA plan, they will be able to switch to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone prescription drug plan. Changes made during the MADP will become effective the first of the following month. For example, if someone switches from an MA plan to Original Medicare and a stand-alone prescription drug plan in February, their new coverage would begin March 1. If they are enrolled in a Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan with a stand-alone drug plan, they must keep their stand-alone prescription drug plan if they switch to Original Medicare during the MADP. If someone is already enrolled in Original Medicare, they cannot switch their plan during this time.

It is important to note that if someone disenrolls from their MA plan, federal law does not usually give them the right to buy a Medigap plans, which are supplemental polices that help pay for Original Medicare deductibles and coinsurances. The laws vary in each state and might be more or less lenient. People should check with their SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) to find out if and when they 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 web-based 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).

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The Medicare Rights Center, a national nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities.

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