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If I am not happy in my Medicare Advantage plan, can I go back to my Original Medicare Part A and Part B or my old Medicare Supplement coverage?



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Question: If I am not happy in my Medicare Advantage plan, can I go back to my Original Medicare Part A and Part B or my old Medicare Supplement coverage?
Category: Medicare Supplements or Medigap

Answer: Yes.  During the annual Open Enrollment Period, you can change Medicare Advantage plans or leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare Part A and Part B.

If your Medicare Advantage plan also has a prescription drug benefit (MAPD), you can return to original Medicare Part A and Part B and enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).

Medicare also provides for two Medicare Advantage plan "trial periods" that allow you to return to a Medicare Supplement policy with guaranteed issue rights (no medical underwriting), plus your state may provide additional guaranteed issue rights for joining a Medicare Supplement.

Joining a Medigap after first joining a Medicare Advantage plan
First, if you originally had a Medicare Supplement and changed to a Medicare Advantage plan, you are allowed to return to your original Medicare Supplement within 12 months of first joining a Medicare Advantage plan (your trial period). 

As noted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): "[If y]ou joined a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A at 65, and within the first year of joining, you decide you want to switch to Original Medicare - You have the right to buy [a]ny Medigap policy that's sold in your state by any insurance company."

If you are outside of the 12 month "trial period", you may be subject to medical underwriting (again, some states provide for more generous "guaranteed issue" rights).

Changing back to your Medigap after joining a Medicare Advantage plan
Also CMS allows for a "trial period" if: "[y]ou dropped a Medigap [or Medicare Supplement] policy to join a Medicare Advantage Plan (or to switch to a Medicare SELECT policy) for the first time, you’ve been in the plan less than a year, and you want to switch back - you have the right to buy [t]he Medigap policy you had before you joined the Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare SELECT policy, if the same insurance company you had before still sells it."

If your former Medicare Supplement is no longer in existence, you will be permitted to join Medicare Supplement Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L. (Remember that Medigap Plan C and Plan F will no longer be accepting enrollments starting in 2020.)

[Source: Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services]

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