Advantage Plan Cancellation: What to doby Denise Early on Dec. 05, 2009, under Health
If your Medicare Advantage plan is cancelled, you have two options: Change to another Advantage plan or return to Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement – with no questions asked. This is called “guaranteed issue”, and it is an option that should be seriously considered.
Guaranteed issue means that a person who is 70 years old (or 90) with health problems can get a Medicare Supplement plan with no questions asked. They will pay the premium rate for their age group, but will have no penalty because of their health condition. This is a great opportunity to get the full coverage offered by a Plan C or F Medicare Supplement, and people in this situation are encouraged to look seriously at this option.
A copy of the cancellation letter from the Medicare Advantage plan that is being cancelled must be sent with the Medicare Supplement application. The cancellation letter will say clearly that the person has “guaranteed issue” for a Medicare Supplement with any company. There are also boxes on the application to indicate t he applicant has guaranteed issue.
I’ve talked to four people this week who received letters from their Advantage plan and I can add Aetna to the list of plans being cancelled. The Aetna Advantage plan for 2009 has a premium of $109.00 per month - and this is more than some Medicare Supplements.
I was talking to a man who is losing his Aetna plan and I explained to him that his Aetna plan requires him to make co-pays when he goes to the doctor, gets lab tests, or if he is admitted to the hospital. If he had a Medicare Supplement plan F at $100 per month (for his age), he would have no co-payments for any medical services. I told him I thought the Aetna premium was a rip-off, and he was embarassed to realize he was paying way too much money for his Medicare Advantage plan.
So, if a person is paying over $100 for a Medicare Advantage plan that is being cancelled, they should seriously consider going back to Medicare and getting a Medicare Supplement. The man I talked to this week went on line to determine which Part D plan will cover all his drugs. He will pay around $35 for a Part D.
Frankly, with the changes that are coming to Medicare Advantage next year, I would encourage everyone who has received a cancellation letter to think seriously about going back to Medicare and getting a Medicare Supplement (and a Part D plan). They won’t have this option again. Well, maybe they will if some companies decide to get out of the Medicare Advantage business.