Are you ready to let go of Medicare Advantage (Part C)? Have you been unhappy with Advantage and wish you just stuck with original Medicare? Well, you’re in luck because we just happen to be in the middle of another Medicare deadline (seems like they come up every month). Right now, you’re allowed to disenroll (i.e. drop) from your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). If you’ve been unhappy with your Medicare Advantage coverage, you can go back to original Medicare, giving up your private insurer health coverage. You have from January 1st until February 14th to disenroll.

You are also allowed to enroll in Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) since you likely were previously covered though your Advantage policy.

Not the same as open enrollment

Unfortunately, the disenrollment period isn’t the same as your initial enrollment and honestly, it isn’t as good. During disenrollment, you can ONLYswitch from Advantage back to original Medicare, while during initial enrollment you could do a lot of things such as switch drug plans or Advantage plans. MADP is a one-shot deal — switch from Advantage back to original.

Also, if you have a Medicare Medical Savings Account plan, you’re not allowed to disenroll during this period — only during the open enrollment period from mid-October to early December.

When does it take effect?

If you disenroll from Medicare Advantage, the change takes effect the first day of the following month. So, if you disenroll in January, you will be back on original Medicare starting February 1st. If you wait until February 14th, you will need to wait until March 1st for your original Medicare to become effective. A good reason not to wait if you already know you no longer want Advantage.

Word of Warning: If you sign up for original Medicare when you first become eligible, you are guaranteed the right to sign up for Medigap — the extra coverage that original Medicare doesn’t cover such as copays. When you disenroll from Advantage back to original Medicare during MADP, that guarantee no longer holds. Hence, you run the risk of not being able to get Medigap and being responsible for any expenses original Medicare doesn’t cover. This can be a big financial concern if unexpected expenses occur.

Overall, if Medicare Advantage isn’t working for you, now is the time to disenroll and move back to original Medicare. Just be sure you understand what you can and can’t do. Just remember, your deadline is Valentine’s Day!

If you’re looking for more information on Medicare and stay informed on deadlines, check out our ⚕️Medicare Alerts⚕️.