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Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare to provide Original Medicare Part A and Part B benefits (with the exception of hospice care, which is covered by Part A), is an alternative way to receive Original Medicare benefits to many beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries have several time periods for enrolling in or switching Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, including their Initial Election Period (IEP or Initial Enrollment Period), Annual Election Period (AEP), and Special Election Periods (SEPs or Special Enrollment Periods).  If one enrolls, however, and decides a Medicare Advantage plan is not the right option and want to return to Original Medicare, there is only one specified time during which a beneficiary may disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan. The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) runs from January 1 to February 14 of each year.

Changes that can be made during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period

During this time, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, with or without drug coverage, you may leave your Medicare Advantage plan and switch to Original Medicare. This is not an enrollment period during which beneficiaries may switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.

Below are some of the changes that can be made during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period:

If you have You can
  • Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan or an Medicare Prescription plan without drug coverage
  • Switch to Original Medicare
  • Enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Medicare Advantage plan without drug coverage and a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switch to Original Medicare, but you must keep your current Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Original Medicare coverage or a Medicare Medical Savings Account plan
  • No action can be taken at this time

Any changes made during this time go into effect on the first day of the following month.

You may be able to  enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan after disenrolling from a Medicare Advantage plan and returning to Medicare Part A and Part B if one is available where you live. However, you may be subject to medical underwriting, which could affect plan costs and availability. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance companies and can help you pay for out-of-pocket costs for services covered under Medicare Part A and Part B.

How the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period Differs from the Annual Election Period

The main difference between the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period and the Annual Election Period is the fact that beneficiaries may enroll in or switch their Medicare Advantage plan coverage during the Annual Election Period. The Medicare Annual Disenrollment Period is strictly reserved for disenrolling from a Medicare Advantage plan and returning to Original Medicare with or without prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries may not enroll in or switch Medicare Advantage plans  during this 45-day period. Beneficiaries may sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.