Good Morning Ms. Toni:
The first week, my wife and I had moved to Houston, I had a wonderful surprise in the Spring Examiner newspaper in my front yard and there was your Medicare column discussing different Medicare options for someone who has cancer. I am 70 years old and go to MD Anderson for colon cancer.
I did not realize I could have chosen a Medicare Supplement instead of a Medicare Advantage plan. My Part B began in December and I understand I have my 6-month Medicare Supplement open enrollment guarantee issue period.
I need help disenrolling from this Medicare Advantage plan which started April 1st and go back to Medicare with a Medicare supplement. How do I qualify for guaranteed issue? Thanks, Mr. Arnold, Spring, TX
What a great compliment!! I know how overwhelming it can be to understand the rules of Medicare, especially when you are stressed due to an illness.
Below is how I help clients who contact me and want to disenroll from their Medicare Advantage plan and back to Original Medicare. You have contacted me at the right time because after June 1 your time limit for first time enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan is gone. Confusing…don’t I know!!
1) Call Medicare at 1/800-MEDICARE (633-4227) and explain how you did not understand the Medicare Advantage plan you picked and want to disenroll.
** Medicare only allows you to go back to Original Medicare only or Original Medicare with a Stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan. Medicare does not allow people to enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan until Medicare Open Enrollment which is October 15th thru December 7th of each year.
2) Ask the Medicare customer service rep how you can disenroll from the Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare with a Stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan.
**The trick to disenrolling is to enroll in a Stand-alone Part D plan and automatically you are disenrolled from your Advantage plan and back to just Original Medicare. This will be effective on the 1st of the next month. Disenroll on July 15, you will be back to “Original Medicare” on August 1st.
3) Give the Medicare customer service rep all of your current prescription drugs to see which Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan fits your needs best and can control your cost.
4) Enroll in that certain Medicare Part D Prescription drug plan and automatically you are back on Original Medicare.
Now that you are back on “Original Medicare”, you can search for the Medicare Supplement that fits your needs.
Receiving Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment (Guaranteed Issue): Because you enrolled in Part B in December and are within your 6-month Medicare open enrollment period which ends on May 31, 2013, you can receive guaranteed issue. Medicare’s definition for guarantee issue is your acceptance in any Medicare Supplement plan is guaranteed during your Medicare supplement open enrollment period which lasts for 6 months beginning the first day of the month in which you are either age 65 or older and have just enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Wait past 6 months from enrolling in Part B and you must qualify with Medical underwriting. You got a “little blessing” when you read my article from April 4th and learned you have other Medicare options to choose from.
**** There are 2(two) Confused about Medicare workshops in June:
1) Thursday, June 13 at 6:30 PM to be held at Chelsea Gardens, 4422 Riverstone Blvd, Missouri City, TX 77459
2) Wednesday, June 19th 6:30 PM at The Abbey at Westminster Plaza, 2865 Westminster Plaza Dr., Houston, TX 77082.
Both workshops are free of charge and open to the public. RSVP by calling
832/800-4674 as seating is limited.
Toni King author of Medicare Survival Guide is available only at www.tonisays.com and not sold in bookstores. Toni is an advocate/consultant for those “Confused about Medicare”. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832/519-TONI (8664). Sign up for the Medicare Survival newsletter available at www.tonisays.com