I’m enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but I want to go back to Original Medicare. How can I do that?
The Medicare 2013 Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) – more commonly referred to as Medicare Open Enrollment – starts October 15. This is the period during which Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in, and change or disenroll from Part C Medicare Advantage plans as well as Part D prescription drug plans, with any change effective January 1, 2014.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may have used deceptive marketing practices to lure patients into making the switch when it wasn’t necessarily in their best interest, according to the Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General report “Beneficiaries Remain Vulnerable to Sales Agents’ Marketing of Medicare Advantage Plans.”
If you’re considering a Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan, both of which are run by private insurers, don’t rely solely on information from the sponsoring insurance company, recommends the AARP in the article 12 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medicare Plan.
Often seniors who make the switch to Medicare Advantage are no longer able to see their same doctors, pharmacy or hospital nor do they qualify for free skilled nursing benefits in the home. In addition, Medicare Advantage plans typically assign huge out-of-pocket copays for rehabilitation care, home health services and hospital stays.
For more information, contact these government agencies that handle Medicare:
- Medicare: 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227), TTY: 877-486-2048
- Medicare & You (PDF): A handbook published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Social Security Administration: 800-772-1213, TTY: 800-325-0778
For additional assistance, and information about Medicare and insurance providers in your state, you can contact: