Switching to Traditional Medicare After the Medicare Open Enrollment Period

We have been receiving calls from individuals asking if they can switch to Traditional Medicare after the Annual Enrollment Period. Many individuals are told that they can only switch plans during the open enrollment period which currently is October 15 through December 7 of each year. While this may be true in most cases, there also is another enrollment period called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that occurs January 1 through February 14 of each year.

The MADP allows an individual to switch from their current Medicare Advantage plan back to traditional Medicare (Part A and Part B). So, if you or your family member still want to switch back to traditional Medicare, you have until February 14 to do so. Please understand that you can not switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan during this period; that can only be done during the annual open enrollment period.

If you decide to switch to traditional Medicare, we advise contacting your current Medicare Advantage carrier to notify them that you want to leave their plan. The effective date of your Medicare Advantage plan disenrollment depends on when you make your request. If your leave your plan during the MADP, the change becomes effective the first day of the following month. For example, if you have notified your current insurance carrier on January 10 to disenroll, your coverage with Medicare will begin on February 1. We also suggest contacting Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE) and inform them of your actions to make sure their records are up to date.

Remember that once you enroll back to traditional Medicare, you need to consider purchasing a Medicare supplement (also known as a Medigap policy) plan to cover the out of pocket expenses as well as a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if your current Medicare advantage plan included one.

If you have any questions about switching plans or the process to do it, please call our office to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff.