In past years, people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans had the months of January, February, and March to change to another Advantage plan. That is no longer the case, and only one option is available to those who are unhappy with their Advantage plan.
Up until February 14th, anyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can dis-enroll from their plan and return to Original Medicare. If the Advantage plan included a drug plan, they will be allowed to sign up for a stand-alone Part D plan to replace the drug coverage that was in their Medicare Advantage plan.
So, if a person has issues with their Medicare Advantage plan, now is the time to act, or be stuck with the plan for the rest of the year. Some people have discovered that their Medicare Advantage plan is not working for them for various reasons:
*The member’s doctor may have dropped the plan.
*The doctor network may be too restricted/small.
*Prior authorizations or referrals may be too cumbersome.
*Drug coverage in the plan may not suit the member’s needs.
These are issues that have arisen with certain Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona.
A person can enroll in a Medicare supplement at any time during the year – if they do not have medical conditions that disqualify them.
CAUTION! Before dropping your Medicare Advantage plan be sure you can get a Medicare supplement. With only Medicare and no supplement, a person who ends up in the hospital can run up big bills for doctor and surgeon costs (20% of each bill generated by any doctor who treats you or consults on your case). With just Medicare you will pay 20% of radiation and chemo treatment if diagnosed with cancer, and this could add up to $10,000 or more very quickly. Having only Medicare and no supplement can get very expensive if you get sick. So don’t make a rash decision about dropping your Medicare Advantage plan.