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Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP)

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The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) is when you can disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. This period occurs every year from January 1 to February 14.

What you can do

You can only enroll and disenroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during certain times of the year.

During the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, you can leave a Medicare Advantage plan to return to Original Medicare, no matter how long you’ve been enrolled in the plan. If you recently joined the Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period and later change your mind, you can use this period to go back to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.

The disenrollment from your Medicare Advantage plan goes into effect the first of the month after you make the request. For example, if you disenroll from your plan in February, it won’t go into effect until March 1.

Pay close attention to the date your Medicare Advantage disenrollment becomes effective. Some types of Medicare Advantage plans require you to use network providers to be covered. If you’re in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan or a Special Needs Plan, make sure to keep using doctors in the plan’s provider network until the day you’re disenrolled. Otherwise, your plan may not pay for the services you received.

If you leave your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, you can also join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan. This is regardless of whether the Medicare Advantage plan you’re leaving included drug coverage. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, you can either submit a disenrollment request to your plan or simply join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan (which automatically disenrolls you from Medicare Advantage). If you join a Medicare prescription drug plan, your coverage will start the first day of the following month.

Keep in mind that Original Medicare doesn’t come with prescription drug benefits, and Medicare Part D has a penalty if you go without creditable prescription drug coverage for longer than 63 days in a row. If you have other prescription drug coverage, make sure it’s creditable, meaning at least as good as standard Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

What you can’t do

You can’t use the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period to join or switch plans. You’re only allowed to disenroll from Medicare Advantage to go back to Original Medicare.

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is different from the Annual Election Period, which is the Fall Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plans. During the Annual Election Period, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, switch plans, make changes to prescription drug coverage, or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare.

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is also separate from the Initial Coverage Election Period, which is when you’re first eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Outside of these periods, you can’t make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan coverage unless you qualify for a Special Election Period. You’re allowed to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and switch to a different plan in limited situations, including (but not limited to) if you move out of the plan’s service area or your plan used deceptive marketing practices.

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