I received a notice that my Medicare Advantage plan won’t be available in 2019. What do I need to do?
This year, thousands of seniors received a notice from their Medicare Advantage (MA) plan telling them that the insurance carrier will no longer be offering coverage in their area. If you received this notice, you have two options. You can join a different MA plan that’s available in your county or you can switch back to Original Medicare.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules, you have until February 28 to make up your mind. That said, most experts agree that you should make your plan elections during the Annual Election Period (October 15 through December 7). By doing so, you will have coverage on January 1.
Option 1: Join another Medicare Advantage plan
Although your plan may have gotten out of your local market, the good news is that there are more plan options in 2019. Plus, many 2019 Medicare Advantage plans offer enhanced supplemental benefits, such as dental, hearing, vision, gym memberships, and more.
To compare your options for Medicare Advantage plans for 2019, use our Medicare Advantage Plans tool.
Pay close attention to how MA plans. Most plans have a contracted network of doctors and other healthcare providers. All plans have out-of-pockets costs. We show you these costs in plain language. It’s super important to review the summary of benefits for any plan you are considering. Evaluate the costs and benefits against tour specific healthcare needs.
Nearly all Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage (Part D). If you have a chronic illness and have costly, brand name medications, be sure to check for coverage and understand your out-of-pocket costs for your prescriptions.
It’s also a good idea to read your new copy of “Medicare and You”. If you did not receive the CMS booklet in the mail, you can give them a call at 1-800-MEDICARE.
Option 2: Return to Original Medicare and Add Medigap
You also have the option to go back to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B coverage). If you switch back, you should consider adding a Medigap policy, for gap coverage, and a Medicare Part D plan for your prescriptions. The notice you received from your Medicare Advantage plan should explain that you have a “guarantee issue right” for Medicare Supplement Insurance.
In case you’re not familiar, Medigap policies are standardized coverage plans that help pay your out-of-pocket costs with Original Medicare Part A (hospital) and B (medical). The “Medicare & You” booklet can help you to better understand your options.
In addition to a Medigap plan, you need a Medicare Part D drug plan to cover your prescription drug costs. Even if you don’t take regular medications now, you need a Part D plan. If you don’t enroll in a plan as soon as you are eligible, Medicare will charge you a hefty penalty down the road when you need the plan. In most areas, basic plans are available for less than $20 per month.
If you need help comparing plans, call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE. Ask the customer service representative run a Medicare Part D comparison for you and to explain your coverage options.