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Can I Cancel My Medicare Advantage Plan?


Are you are unhappy with your current coverage and want to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan? If so, you may need to jump through some hoops. Leaving a Medicare Advantage plan can be difficult outside of an applicable enrollment period. Yet, if your timing is right, canceling your Medicare Advantage plan can be a seamless process.

When Can I Cancel My Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare Advantage plans are typically one-year contract plans that can be tough to cancel. Suppose you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period and decide it is not for you. In that case, you can cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare during this enrollment period.

However, once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you are locked into your plan until the next enrollment period, which could be months away. Medicare Advantage enrollment periods include the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, and in some instances, Special Enrollment Periods.

Remember: an enrollment period is the only time you are eligible to make a change to or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan.

How to Cancel My Medicare Advantage Plan During a Special Enrollment Period

It is not uncommon for Medicare beneficiaries to qualify for Special Enrollment Periods. Beneficiaries have access to Special Enrollment Periods when specific events occur in their life, causing them to require a change in coverage.

Several events can entitle a beneficiary to a Special Enrollment Period, including (but not limited to) moving out of your plan’s service area, qualifying for Medicaid or a low-income subsidy, and loss of group coverage.

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can switch or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan.

How to Switch Medicare Advantage Plans

If you like the idea of a Medicare Advantage plan but find your plan’s coverage to be lacking, there are times when you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. You can do this during the Annual Enrollment Period or the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

The Annual Enrollment Period occurs each fall and allows Medicare Advantage enrollees to change their plan. If you wish to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and switch to a new plan for the upcoming year, you can also do so during this time.

If you miss the Annual Enrollment Period, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period comes shortly after. Each January, this enrollment period is available to those who already have a Medicare Advantage plan. During this time, enrollees may make one change to their plan. So, they can either cancel their Medicare Advantage plan or switch to a new one.

How to Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

Like switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, you can only switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare during an enrollment period. The Annual Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period allow you to change Medicare Advantage plans. These enrollment periods will also enable you to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan altogether.

When canceling your Medicare Advantage plan, you automatically revert to Original Medicare. This is because Medicare Advantage plans absorb your risk from Original Medicare. Thus, you will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage when you cancel your Medicare Advantage plan.

In some instances, you might be eligible to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and revert to Original Medicare without an enrollment period. Yet, you must qualify for one of two trial right periods to do this.

Suppose you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan when you first became eligible for Medicare. In this case, you can use a trial right to return to Original Medicare. Likewise, imagine you left a Medicare Supplement plan to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time. In that case, you can also use a trial right to return to Original Medicare. Keep in mind that both trial rights are only valid within the first year of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan.

How to Switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement

Suppose you decide your Medicare Advantage plan’s network restrictions and high out-of-pocket costs are not for you. If so, you may be eligible to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.

However, there is no way to switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement directly. Once you revert from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare, you become eligible for a Medicare Supplement plan without a lapse in coverage.

When you return to Original Medicare using a Special Enrollment Period or a trial right, you automatically qualify for guaranteed issue rights to enroll. So, you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan without underwriting health questions. However, if you return to Original Medicare during a typical enrollment period, you must answer health questions to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan.

FAQs

Can I cancel my Medicare Advantage plan at any time?
No, you cannot cancel your Medicare Advantage plan at any time. You need to be in a valid enrollment period to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan. During this time, you can cancel or switch your Medicare Advantage plan.
Does enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan cancel my Medicare Advantage plan?
If you are eligible to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, your Medicare Advantage plan will terminate once your Medicare Part D plan becomes active. However, before enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan, you must ensure you are eligible to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan to avoid a lapse in coverage.
Can I cancel my Medicare Advantage plan if I am unhappy with the coverage?
If you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage coverage, you can cancel your plan during a valid enrollment period.
Can I cancel my Medicare Advantage plan if I move to a new state?
If you move to a new state where your Medicare Advantage plan does not provide coverage, you will be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. This window will allow you to change or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan.

How Do I Cancel My Medicare Advantage Plan?

If you wish to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan, the easiest way is to contact your provider directly. You can also contact your local Medicare office by phone, in person, or online during a valid enrollment period.

Once you cancel your Medicare Advantage plan, you can explore Medicare Supplement options to help cover the costs left over by Original Medicare. To find the best Medicare Supplement plan, it is best to speak with an agent who has access to several top carriers in your area. That is where we come in.

At MedicareFAQ, our agents are trained to find the best plan to cover all your health care needs. Contact us at the number above or complete our online rate comparison form to find the right Medicare Supplement plan for you!

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

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