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Medicare News

Senior Citizens Still Have Until February 14 to Switch from Medicare Advantage Plans

Changes is back to Original Medicare and drug plan rather than managed care

Feb. 9, 2011 – Senior citizens that chose a Medicare Advantage Plan and have found it is not a good fit for their needs, still have a chance to switch back to Original Medicare. The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period runs until February 14.

These are the options during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, according to the Medicare Rights Center

If you have:

   ● A Medicare Advantage private health plan with prescription drug coverage, you can switch to Original Medicare plus a prescription drug plan, OR Original Medicare without a prescription drug plan

   ● A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan that does not include prescription drug coverage and a stand-alone prescription drug plan, you can switch to Original Medicare, but you must keep your current prescription drug plan

   ● Original Medicare or Original Medicare and a prescription drug plan, you cannot make any changes during this time

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Lowering the Co-Pays for Mental Health Care Does Not Move Senior Citizens to Seek Help

Seniors in Medicare Advantage plans not motivated by rather large increases or decreases in co-pays for outpatient mental health care - Feb. 8, 2011


Nearly Half of Senior Citizens Receiving Smaller Social Security Checks in 2011

New survey finds lack of COLA hurting seniors as over 60% see their expenses rise, Medicare premiums reduce checks

Feb. 3, 2011


Medicare Wants to be Sure Senior Citizens Know Where to File Health Care Complaints

CMS proposes rule requiring providers to give seniors and other beneficiaries written notice of their rights

Feb. 2, 2011


 
 

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Original Medicare, the traditional fee-for-service program offered through the federal government, covers most necessary services and is accepted by most doctors and facilities across the country. However, it does not cover the full cost of care. Many people who enroll in Original Medicare choose to purchase supplemental coverage to help pay for out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and coinsurance.

Consumers who disenroll from their Medicare private health plan should be aware that they may have limited ability to buy coverage that supplements Original Medicare. State laws vary on when consumers can purchase Medicare supplemental policies, also known as Medigaps.

Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to find out if and when you can enroll in a Medigap plan in your state. You can find the number for your local SHIP by visiting www.shiptalk.org or calling 800-MEDICARE.

Consumers who disenroll from their private plan may need to join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan in order to maintain drug coverage. Medicare Rights advises consumers who are choosing a plan to consider not only premium and copayment costs, but also whether the drugs they take are on the plan’s formulary (list of covered drugs).

Consumers should also check to see whether the plan places any restrictions on the drugs they take. Restrictions can take the form of quantity limits, prior authorization and step therapy. To learn more about choosing a Medicare prescription drug plan that best meets your needs, visit Medicare Interactive.

Whichever way you disenroll, your Original Medicare coverage and any Medicare drug coverage you choose at this time will start the first day of the month after you disenroll, according to Medicare. If you switch to Original Medicare and your Medicare Advantage Plan included drug coverage, you have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

You can only make limited changes during the Disenrollment Period. This isn’t a time to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan; switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another; switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another; or join, switch, or drop a Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan.

Consumers have had the opportunity to drop their private plan and enroll in Original Medicare since January 1, when the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) began. After the MADP, most people with Medicare will be unable to make another change to their health coverage until the Fall Open Enrollment Period, which begins on October 15, 2011.

If you have questions about choosing coverage, you can review your Medicare Coverage Choices to help decide which coverage is right for you, or get information about Medicare Coverage Basics. If you still have questions, you can get free personalized help by calling your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

Medicare Rights advises consumers who wish to change their health coverage, and enroll in a drug plan if necessary, to do so by calling 800-MEDICARE rather than their plan. Changes made before the end of the MADP are effective March 1.

Learn more about changing your Medicare private health plan, and evaluate your coverage options, on Medicare Interactive.

Resources

Find the number for your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at www.shiptalk.org.

Find answers to Medicare questions at Medicare Interactive (www.medicareinteractive.org), the Medicare Rights Center’s free counseling tool.

To disenroll from your private plan and enroll in a stand-alone prescription if necessary, call 800-MEDICARE.

 

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