Medicare Advantage

How and when can I switch from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare? Is there a form I need to fill out? Can I make that change during the Medicare Open Enrollment period?

If you’re already in a Medicare Advantage plan and you want to switch to traditional Medicare, you should contact your current plan to cancel your enrollment and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Note there are specific enrollment periods each year to do this. The first period when you can switch from your Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare is during the Medicare Open Enrollment period that runs October 15 to December 7. When you make the switch back to traditional Medicare during the Medicare Open Enrollment period, the change will take effect on January 1 of the following year. The second period you can switch from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare is during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period that runs from January 1 to March 31, and coverage will start the first of the first month after the plan gets your request. If you switch to traditional Medicare and you want prescription drug coverage through Medicare, you will also need to sign up for a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) for your drug coverage. If you do not, and you decide to sign up for Part D coverage later on, you may face a penalty for late enrollment.

When you switch to traditional Medicare, you may also want to consider purchasing a Medicare supplemental insurance policy, known as Medigap. Medigap policies help to pay your cost-sharing requirements under traditional Medicare. Depending on how long you have been enrolled in Medicare Advantage, Medigap insurers may not be required to sell you a policy unless you meet the medical underwriting requirements. You may want to contact a few Medigap insurers directly to see if you will be able to purchase a Medigap policy when you switch to traditional Medicare.

While we have made every effort to provide accurate information in these FAQs, people should contact the health insurance Marketplace or Medicaid agency in their state for guidance on their specific circumstances.

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