People Dropping 'Medicare Advantage' Urged to Analyze
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- People enrolled in
Medicare Advantage private health plans have until Feb. 14 to leave
those plans, but a national consumer group urges a careful review
of options before making any decision.
During what the Medicare agency calls the Medicare Advantage
Disenrollment Period, people who leave a private plan can switch
only to traditional Medicare coverage administered by the federal
"People with Medicare who become unhappy with their Medicare Advantage plan have one more opportunity to change their coverage before being locked in until next fall," Joe Baker, president of the nonprofit Medicare Rights Center, said in a news release from the center. "Because the window is shorter than in past years, consumers should review their coverage options carefully and consider all of the implications of making a change before doing so."
Traditional Medicare does not cover the full cost of care so
many consumers who enroll in traditional Medicare buy supplementary
coverage, called Medigap plans, to help pay out-of-pocket costs.
However, people who switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to
traditional Medicare may be limited in their ability to purchase
supplemental coverage because of variations in state laws,
according to the Medicare Rights Center.
The group advises consumers to call their State Health Insurance
Assistance Program to find out if they can buy Medigap
It also warns that some people who leave a private plan may have
to join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan to maintain
When choosing a drug coverage plan, the group says, people
- Premium and co-payment costs
- Whether medications they take are included on the plan's list
of covered drugs
- Whether the plan has restrictions, such as quantity limits,
prior authorization or step therapy
The Medicare Rights Center has more about
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