Original Medicare + Supplement or Medicare Advantage: Can You Switch?Posted by Medicare Made Clear
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover all your health care costs. Some people add a Medicare supplement insurance plan and a prescription drug plan (Part D) to Original Medicare. Others choose a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) with drug coverage instead. Either approach may help deal with costs not paid by Original Medicare.
You may have questions about switching between Original Medicare plus a Medicare supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan. Many people also ask about how to choose between these coverage options.
You may join a Medicare Advantage plan during Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7). If you currently have Original Medicare, you could switch to a Medicare Advantage plan instead. Or you might switch from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a different one you think fits better with your needs.
Once you join a new Medicare Advantage plan, you are automatically disenrolled from Original Medicare or your previous Medicare Advantage plan.
It’s important to consider any additional coverage you may have when switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan. Many Medicare Advantage plans include Part D prescription drug coverage. Also, you can’t use a Medicare supplement plan with a Medicare Advantage plan.
You may want to drop your standalone Part D plan, if you have one, when you join a Medicare Advantage plan that has drug coverage. You could drop your Medicare supplement plan as well. You must contact your plan directly and explain that you want to drop your coverage. Be aware that you may not be able to get a Medicare supplement plan again later if you want to, or you may have to pay more.
You may also use open enrollment to switch back to Original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage plan. Simply tell your plan that you want to drop it. You will be switched to Original Medicare automatically. You would then be able to buy a Medicare Part D plan during open enrollment as well. You could also apply for a Medicare supplement plan. Just remember that you may be denied coverage or charged more based on your health history, unless you are applying during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
View online resources, look for local events happening during National Medicare Education Week (Sept. 15 – 21) and get help making your Medicare choices for 2016. Medicare Made Clear has a simple online tool that recommends which type of Medicare plan might fit with your needs. Give it a try!
For more information, 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.