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How to Switch to a Better Medicare Plan

Switching to a better Medicare Plan explained

Published: May 4, 2021

Category: Featured, Medicare Healthcare

Nobody should settle when it comes to health insurance. Your health insurance plan should be chosen based on how well it fits your lifestyle. And sometimes, as your lifestyle changes, your healthcare needs change too. If you are enrolled in Medicare, and you need to change the plan you are in, it may seem like a daunting task to make the switch. Luckily, there are steps you can take to change your Medicare plan, and they make doing so much easier than you would think.

In this article, we have prepared a simple question-and-answer guide below to help you through this process so you can successfully prepare for your future.

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Changing a Medicare Plan: Canceling Your First Plan

When canceling a Medicare plan, do not rush yourself. First and foremost, you can cancel your Medicare Supplement plan at any time. This means that you don’t have to rush around to try to pinpoint an exact date to discontinue it. You can do this by calling your insurance company but, once it’s canceled, you run the risk of not being able to get it back. Additionally, other Medicare Supplement plans will be hard to get without medical underwriting. This means that your medical history will have to be reviewed when applying for another Medicare Supplement plan.

You have a few options as to when you want to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan, too. Many think that canceling a Medicare plan is only possible during certain times of the year, like the open enrollment period that is active every year from October 15th through December 7th. Although you can cancel during this time, there are other options available, too. You can also switch between different Medicare Advantage plans between the dates of January 1st and March 31st.

If you are still needing other options, don’t worry. Other times you can disenroll from your current plan include:

  • Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) allows disenrollment. As you may be aware, your initial enrollment period for Medicare begins three months before your 65th birthday and is open until three months after you’ve turned 65. During this time, you are able to disenroll from the Medicare Advantage plan that you may choose. To do this, talk with a Medicare consultant at 1-800-MEDICARE or contact your plan provider.
  • Manual disenrollment. If you need to manually disenroll, you can get in touch with your plan provider and ask for a disenrollment notice, which is a card that is mailed to you for you to complete and return. You can also call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), where a representative can assist you.
  • Signing up for a new plan earns you automatic disenrollment. You are automatically disenrolled from your current plan whenever you register to a new one. People who cancel the Medicare Advantage plan typically do it because there is a change in their healthcare needs, or the cost of it just isn’t efficient.

If you want to cancel your Medicare Part A, this is where things can get a little difficult. Because Medicare Part A does not cost anything for a lot of seniors, there isn’t a way to cancel it. To unenroll from Medicare Part B, you will have to contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213, the national phone number for the SSA.

Changing a Medicare Plan: Switching to a New Plan

There are some ways to change your Medicare plan. Which route you take depends on your current plan and which new plan you choose.

1) Switch to a New Medicare Advantage Plan

If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan or an Original Medicare plan, you have the option to switch to you’re the new plan you have selected. In this situation, it is not necessary to cancel your old plan. Like we stated before, once you enroll in a new plan, you will be automatically disenrolled from your old one.

2) Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare.

You have the option to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare in one of three ways:

  • Visit your local Social Security Office. You can simply visit or call the office and request to be disenrolled from your current plan. Here, you will be in direct contact with a representative who will be more than happy to help you.
  • Call the Medicare number. Call 1-800-MEDICARE and request disenrollment.
  • Request a disenrollment form directly from your insurer. Your insurer will provide you instruction on how you can fill out the form and return it.

After you complete one of these three steps, you are then eligible to enroll in an Original Medicare plan. A great time to act is during the open enrollment period. You can also switch from Medicare Advantage to standard/Original Medicare) from January 1st to March 31st. However, it should be noted that you can only switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare during this secondary period, not from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.

If you want to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to an Original Medicare one, there is a second option. You don’t just have to do this during AEP. It is your “trial right” period, which is where you can leave your plan after having it for less than one year. Also included in this trial period is the availability to go back to your old Medicare Supplement policy with no medical underwriting required, assuming your old policy is still available. If it isn’t, you will be assisted in choosing a new Supplement policy.

However, you will need to use a “trial right” Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to leave your Medicare Advantage plan during the first 12 months you’re enrolled. This is so you can re-join your Medicare Supplement, or join a new one. You can do this by calling a Medicare representative and asking more about the SEP at 1-800-MEDICARE.

Keep in mind that Original Medicare plans do not include drug coverage. It is recommended by Medicare to get a drug coverage plan, even if you are not currently taking any prescription drugs. If you need coverage for prescription drugs outside of the enrollment period, you will have to pay for your prescriptions out-of-pocket, or you will be charged a late enrollment penalty if you add drug coverage to your plan. You can enroll in a drug coverage plan with the same methods you would use to change your plan.

3) If You Have Additional Coverage

If you have coverage through an employer or other program, it is important to understand their qualifications for continued coverage. In some cases, your program may terminate your coverage if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. However, it is possible that you can use your Medicare Advantage plan alongside your program’s coverage. It is also important to remember that, if you drop your program or employer’s coverage, you may be permanently disenrolled from that insurance plan.

If you have coverage from Medicare and your employer, there are two types of coverage. Each type of coverage is called a “payer,” with primary and secondary coverage.

  • The primary payer is the insurance that pays first and will pay up to the limits of its coverage.
  • The second payer pays second, and only pays if there are costs that weren’t covered by the primary insurer. But even then, it isn’t guaranteed that all of the costs will be covered.

You will have to understand if your employer is the primary or secondary payer. If they are the secondary payer, you may need to enroll in Medicare Part B.

 

Switching to new Medicare plan is something that could be beneficial to your lifestyle because it will better fit into it. With that being said, however, it can sometimes be a difficult task. That’s why The Best Senior Services are here to help. If you have any questions or confusion, do not hesitate to contact us today. We will connect you with a local licensed agent who will be able to answer everything with you. Call us today at 855.979.8277 or visit our website.

Understanding Medicare is hard. Let’s not make it any more difficult than it has to be.


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