disenrollment periodYou may be aware about the option to enroll in a Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. You may also be aware about the ability to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a regular Medicare plan during the AEP as well. However – did you know that there is a special period in which you can disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan?
How the Disenrollment Period Works
Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan have the option to disenroll and return to a regular Medicare plan between January 1 and February 14. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you must enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan as well by February 14 to ensure you have the proper coverage for 2015.
To officially disenroll, it’s absolutely essential that you write your request and send it to your health insurance provider or Medicare directly.
Keep in mind, it’s also possible to switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another during AEP. The best part about this is when you enroll in another plan you are automatically removed from your old plan. This also applies if you enroll in a Part D prescription plan in place of a Medicare Advantage plan that comes with a prescription coverage. You will, in turn, automatically be removed from your prescription drug plan under Medicare Advantage.
Important Factors to Keep In Mind
The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is specifically for those that decide to go back to a regular Medicare plan. This means that those interested in making changes to their current Medicare Advantage plan are not permitted to, nor are they allowed to buy a brand new Medicare Advantage plan in the place of Medicare. The following are important points to keep in mind when considering to disenroll:

> If your current MA plan includes prescription drug coverage, you do have the choice to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
> If you are disenrolling from you MA plan and it does not cover prescription drugs, you do need to submit a request directly to that health insurance plan for it to be cancelled. Doing so will make you eligible for a special enrollment period, allowing you to purchase a Medicare Part D drug plan.

Disenrollment Effective Periods

> If you disenroll during AEP, your plan becomes effective January 1 of the next year. During this time, your previous plan is still in effect.

> If you disenroll during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment period, your plan becomes effective the 1st of the following month.

There are special enrollment periods available for a variety of different scenarios, which enable customers to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan outside of the annual enrollment period or the medicare advantage disenrollment period.
Do you have questions about the disenrollment periods and how they work? Are there other questions about your Medicare Advantage plan you need answered? Contact your Personal Advisor today!

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage.