Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP)

checkmark Fact checked Reviewed by: Leron Moore, Medicare consultant - Published: June 2, 2021

 

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) is the period when Medicare Advantage Plan beneficiaries could disenroll from their current Medicare Advantage plan and switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or return to Original Medicare. In 2019, the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period was replaced by the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

What you should know

  • 1 The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period replaced the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period in 2019.
  • 2 Medicare beneficiaries can only join or change a Medicare Advantage Plan during certain times of the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • 3 During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can drop or switch Medicare Advantage Plans.
  • 4 You can cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan prior to the effective date, but doing so outside of the designated enrollment periods may result in a gap in your coverage and late enrollment penalty when you re-enroll.

Medicare beneficiaries can only join or change a Medicare Advantage Plan during certain times of the year. Your first opportunity is during your initial enrollment period when you first become eligible for Medicare. After that, you can only join a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7 each year.

If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan during your initial enrollment period, there is a 3 month grace period from when you sign up during which time you can change your Medicare Advantage Plan or return to Original Medicare.Once you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can drop your Medicare Advantage Plan to switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan or return to Original Medicare during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7 or Medicare Advantage Plan Open Enrollment Period from January 1 through March 31 of each year.

The only way to make changes to your Medicare coverage outside of these periods is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life event, such as if you move outside of your current plan’s service area or lose health coverage.

If none of the above circumstances apply but you believe you were given inaccurate information that caused you to choose the wrong plan, call 1-800-MEDICARE to discuss your disenrollment options.

What is the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, which is now called the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, is “the time of year that someone who is on a Medicare Advantage Plan (MAP) can make one change to another MAP or to a Supplement (Medigap policy) with a Part D plan,” says Elizabeth Gavino, founder of Lewin & Gavino and an independent broker and general agent for Medicare plans. You can also switch to Original Medicare without a Supplement or prescription drug coverage (Part D) during this period, but this would leave you with less coverage than your MAP.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 through March 31 of each year. “This is important especially if a member used the plan in the first couple of months of the year and found out that their provider no longer participates in the plan or that they chose the wrong carrier and plan for their needs,” Gavino says.

What happens when I disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan?

“When you disenroll from a MAP to enroll into another MAP plan or a Part D plan, your former plan is automatically terminated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS),” Gavino says. If you switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D plan, your old coverage will end and new coverage begin on January 1.

If you disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan without enrolling in another Advantage plan, you’ll be automatically returned to Original Medicare without Part D. You’ll have the opportunity to resume the same Medigap policy you had before joining Medicare Advantage, if you had one. If your old policy is no longer available, you’re guaranteed the right to buy an A, B, C, F, K or L Medigap policy in your state if you had Medicare Advantage for less than one year and you apply within 63 days of terminating your Medicare Advantage Plan.

Remember to keep using the providers in your old plan’s network until your new plan becomes effective.

Can I cancel my Medicare Advantage Plan anytime?

“You can cancel your plan at any time but you will not be able to enroll into another MAP or Part D plan at any time,” Gavino says. “If you go from a MAP to a supplement outside the enrollment periods without a special election period (SEP), you will not be able to enroll into a prescription drug plan and will begin to accrue the late enrollment penalty.”

The late enrollment penalty is the lifetime penalty for not having a prescription drug coverage through Medicare or another creditable plan for a period of 63 days or more. The cost of this penalty depends on how long you are without coverage.

How do I disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan?

“To disenroll, it is best to consult with Medicare by calling 1-800-Medicare,” says John Hill, president of Gateway Retirement in Rock Hill, South Carolina. You can also contact the Social Security Administration or contact your plan provider directly, he says. Your plan provider should be able to give you a disenrollment notice for you to sign and return. Some plans may let you request or download this notice online, or you can always get it by calling your plan provider.

You can also mail or fax a signed, written request to cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan to your plan provider at any time. Be sure to clearly state that you would like to disenroll from your plan and include your name, member ID and plan name in your letter. You should also provide your requested disenrollment date and the reason you are disenrolling.

If you want to switch to a new plan, all you need to do to disenroll from your current plan is submit an enrollment application for the new plan. You’ll be automatically disenrolled from your old plan once your new plan’s coverage starts. If you want to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan to switch to Original Medicare, you’ll need to contact your current plan or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

These experts were consulted for insight into the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.

  • Elizabeth Gavino, founder of Lewin & Gavino and an independent broker and general agent for Medicare plans
  • John Hill, president of Gateway Retirement in Rock Hill, South Carolina
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Contributing Expert:

Leron Moore, Medicare consultant

Leron Moore has guided Medicare beneficiaries and their families as a Medicare professional for nearly 15 years. First as a Medicare provider enrollment specialist, and now a Medicare account executive, Moore works directly with Medicare beneficiaries to ensure they understand Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans.