Apr 10, 2011 – According to Medicare.gov, recipients currently electing Medicare Advantage Plan, who wish to change, must do so by February 14th. The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period runs from 1st January, 2011 until 14th February, 2011 instead of 31st March. According to Medicare, the change in deadline was intended to create one clear enrollment period.

Plan recipients need to be aware that dropping a plan automatically means opting into government-run Medicare. Seniors are no longer granted the possibility of changing to another Medicare Advantage plan. In previous year’s participants were given additional time to evaluate a chosen plan and switch between plans at any time. Now members will have only one option – Original Medicare that offers fewer benefits than many Medicare Advantage plans. Recipients need to estimate their new drug plan costs, otherwise if the relative savings are not larger than the new plan’s monthly premium; they’ll end up spending more.

Prior to dropping the Medicare Advantage plan, participants must ensure that the coverage considered includes all neccessary benefits. Medicare Advantage often covers a share of doctor visits, as well as eye check-ups and other services. It is also important to ensure that physicians accept the new coverage. As for Original Medicare, it has cost-sharing requirements and other benefit gaps. Therefore some people, enrolling in Original Medicare acquire supplemental policies called Medigap. Medigap policy can be purchased from a private company with costs varying by policy and company. Employers/unions may offer similar coverage.

Original Medicare coverage and any Medicare drug coverage that is selected at this time will start the first day of the month after the recipient disenrolls. If participants switch to Original Medicare and their Medicare Advantage Plan included drug coverage, they have until 14th February to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan as well.