Making the Switch from Medicare Advantage

  • Originally published February 16, 2011 , last updated May 27, 2016
Making the Switch from Medicare Advantage

5 Questions and Answers About Disenrolling from Medicare Advantage

Every year people enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have the right to disenroll from their current plan and select a new MA plan or return to Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement plan. Here are 5 questions and answers about the process of disenrolling from Medicare Advantage.

1) When can MA members disenroll from their plans and return to Medicare?

Open Enrollment Period (Jan. 1 - March 31) - People may make one change:

  • Leave their MA plan and return to Medicare with the option of purchasing a Medicare supplement
  • Enroll in an MA plan without drug coverage
  • Switch MA plans equivalent to current drug coverage 

Special Election Period: Members are in a special election period when an MA plan withdraws from the market, the member moves out of the service area, etc. If members disenroll to Medicare, MA organizations must notify them of their Medicare supplement guarantee issue rights.

2) Who is eligible for a guarantee issue Medicare supplement?

MA members may apply for a guarantee-issue Medicare Supplement policy if they:

  • Joined an MA plan when they first enrolled in Medicare and leave the plan within the first 12 months of joining
  • Terminated a Medicare supplement policy to enroll in an MA plan for the first time, then leave the plan within 12 months of enrolling
  • Are enrolled in an MA plan leaving the service area or Medicare program altogether

3) How do members disenroll from an MA plan?

Individuals two different ways to disenroll from an MA plan: By writing their plan or by calling their plan or 1-800-Medicare (a written request for disenrollment may be required).

The MA organization must provide a disenrollment notice within seven business days of receiving the request.

4) When is direnrollment effective?

If disenrollment occurs during the Open Enrollment Period, it is effective first day of the month after the month the MA organization receives a completed disenrollment request.

For disenrollments that result in a Special Election Period, the effective date varies by situation. See plan rules for guidance.

5) Who do I call about MA disenrollment eligibility?

Because situations vary, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP office) or call (800) MEDICARE.