| Tue, Aug 20, 2019 @ 11:56 AM

Can You Switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage during the Annual Enrollment Period?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Current beneficiaries can switch to Medicare Advantage (Part C) from Original Medicare (Parts A & B), or vice versa, during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. If you want to make a switch, it requires some additional decisions. The specific decisions depend on what coverage you’re switching to and from.

How to Switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan from Original Medicare

Most Medicare Advantage plans are all-in-one plans. They cover Part A and Part B benefits plus prescription drugs (Part D) and other services not included with Original Medicare. They also havean annual out-of-pocket limit to protect you from high costs.

Medicare Advantage plans provide comprehensive coverage and financial protection

  • You don’t need to buy additional coverage like you may have with Original Medicare.
  • You don’t need a standalone Part D prescription drug plan with Medicare Advantage, because drug coverage is built in.
  • You don’t need a Medicare supplement plan with Medicare Advantage, because Medicare supplement plans work only with Original Medicare to help pay out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare Advantage plans can provide additional coverage

Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer coverage for dental, vision and hearing care as well as extra benefits to support health and well-being, like gym memberships or home safety devices.

Once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during Annual Enrollment, the plan will work with Medicare to transfer your benefits. You don’t have to contact Medicare yourself. Your new plan will begin covering you on January 1.

If you have a standalone Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare supplement plan, you’ll want to contact the plan to dis-enroll. Simply call the number on the back of your insurance card. Keep the following in mind:

  • You may choose a different Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, January 1 – March 31.
  • Your health history may be taken into account if you drop a Medicare supplement plan and decide to join again at a later time. You could be charged more or denied coverage. To check the rules in your state, find the number to call here.

How to Switch to Original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage Plan

Original Medicare provides Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (medical coverage). It does not provide some of the benefits you may have with your Medicare Advantage plan, like drug coverage and an annual out-of-pocket limit.

You may want to add coverage if you switch to Original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage plan

Here are your options:

  • Add a standalone Part D prescription drug plan if you want drug coverage.
  • Add a Medicare supplement plan if you want help paying the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, such as the 20% Part B coinsurance.

Once you contact your Medicare Advantage plan during Annual Enrollment to dis-enroll, your coverage will automatically revert to Original Medicare. You don’t have to contact Medicare yourself. Your new coverage will begin on January 1.

Adding a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement Plan to Original Medicare

If you want to add a Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare supplement plan to Original Medicare, you’ll need to choose a plan and contact the plan provider directly to enroll. You can find plans offered in your area using the Medicare Plan Finder.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Your health history may be taken into account if you decide to add a Medicare supplement plan. You could be charged more or denied coverage. To check the rules in your state, find the number to call here.
  • Your next opportunity to change your Medicare coverage will be during next year’s Annual Enrollment Period, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

For more information about Medicare, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.