“I was so glad I read your column on the Internet; I recently attended a Medicare Advantage meeting and was going to join with some reservations. After reading your article, I am thinking it may not be a good fit for me.
My question is if I change to an Advantage plan and find out in a few months it’s not working for me; what are my chances of returning to regular Medicare and a supplement.
I have a supplement now that is $260 monthly. I am looking for something more reasonable. My age is 73 and in fairly good health. I just found out my regular Dr does not take this plan and I would have to change doctors.
I’m mainly concerned that hospitals will not accept the Advantage plans? I’ve been hearing a lot about doctors and now hospitals not accepting insurance plans because of Obamacare.
I have spent hours on the medicare.gov site, but cannot find out what doctors and hospitals are in the networks. I am just as confused as I can be.”
Thanks, Nancy from Tampa, Florida
Hi there, Nancy:
Medicare’s open enrollment ends this year on Saturday, December 7th, so those who have made changes to their plans or enrolled for the first time in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug plan or in a Part C Medicare Advantage plan can hopefully receive their cards by January 1, 2014.
Those who are not happy with the Medicare Advantage plan that they have picked for 2014, Medicare will only give that person 45 days to tryout a Part C Medicare Advantage plan. This time period is called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period or MADP in Medicare terms… The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) is from January 1st to February 14th, not 15th or 16th.
You can disenroll from their current Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare only and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug plan.
You would think that Medicare would give you time to tryout a new Medicare Advantage plan…but Medicare doesn’t!! To get out or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan after February 14th you cannot because you are “locked in” and will have to wait until the next Medicare enrollment period, which should be October 15, 2014.
Nancy you asked about your hospital accepting Medicare Advantage plans. Most of the hospitals are part of many of the Medicare Advantage networks. Primary care physicians or specialist are a different story because they accept Medicare Advantage plans differently. I always advise my clients and those who attend my “Confused about Medicare” workshops to call all of their doctors to see what plans they accept.
One thing to remember is that the doctor can also stop taking a plan in the middle of the year. If you find a Medicare Advantage plan that you like and your doctor is not in the plan, then you might have to change doctors to use that plan.
Since you are spending about $260 on a Medicare Supplement and want something less expensive with the same access to doctors that accept “Original Medicare”, I would advise you to shop for a different, less expensive Medicare supplement or look at different plans such as plan G or even plan N. Plan N is the newest of the Medicare supplement plans, maybe the less expensive.
The most important thing to remember is to always talk to your doctor or the Doctor’s office manager before you make any changes to your Medicare insurance needs.
Toni King, advocate/author of the Medicare Survival Guide, her simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at www.tonisays.com. Contact Toni directly at 832/519-TONI (8664) for help.