Last year, I made a mistake and changed to a Medicare Advantage PPO because I understood from talking with my friends that this PPO plan was like a Medicare Supplement. I want out!! Most specialists and even the facility that does MRIs are out of network and this is costing me a fortune. I’ve been advised to return to Traditional Medicare. Is Traditional Medicare different than Original Medicare?
Advise how I can return to Medicare? Signed…Jeremy from Hockley, TX
You will be happy to know that “Original Medicare” and “Traditional Medicare” are the same thing, but the medical profession know Medicare as “Traditional” Medicare not “Original Medicare”.
Medicare Annual/Open Enrollment will be your only time to make that change. And it is simple for you to enroll in Original/Tradition Medicare and a new Medicare Supplement (without having to answer questions) only because this is your first year to be out of your Medicare Supplement or your first year to pick a Medicare Advantage Plan.
This year’s Medicare’s Open/Annual Enrollment period starts on Saturday, October 15, and will end at midnight on Wednesday, December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day).
For you to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage company, all you need to do is enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan that fits your needs. You will automatically be out of your old Medicare Advantage plan and back to “Original Medicare” with a Medicare Prescription Drug plan; then you can apply for a Medicare Supplement to pick up what Medicare does not pay for.
Concerned you have health issues which can keep you from qualifying with a Medicare Supplement’s application? Don’t worry; there are protections in place for this type of situation. The Medicare rule from page 103 of the 2016 Medicare & You Handbook is: “If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time, and you aren’t happy with the plan, you’ll have special rights to buy a Medigap policy if you return to Original Medicare within 12 months of joining.” Medicare rules concerning this issue are on page 103.
Below are the changes that a Medicare beneficiary can make to their Medicare plans during Medicare Annual Enrollment:
- Enroll in a new Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which automatically disenrolls one from a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Enroll in a new Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan when you have never been in Part D from the time you have been with Medicare.
- Change from one Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to a new Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Enroll in a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan with Prescription Drugs
- Change from one Part C Medicare Advantage Plan to a new Part C Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Return to Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Return to Original Medicare only and enroll in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Return to Original Medicare with no Part D plan. * Don’t forget there is a penalty for not enrolling in a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug plan when first eligible.*
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at www.tonisays.com Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832/519-TONI (8664).