The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) runs from January 1 to February 14 of each year and allows beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage to drop their private Medicare coverage in favor of returning to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) is quite different than the Annual Election Period (AEP), which is a specific time of year (October 15 to December 7) that enables Medicare beneficiaries to change their Medicare health and drug coverage. The MADP period is only applicable to those who have joined a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, and would like to return to the federally funded and administered coverage of Medicare Part A and Part B.
Options during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period
Beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan may switch back to Original Medicare coverage. While they cannot join a different MA plan, they can shop for and join a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to go along with their Part A and Part B coverage given that they lost their medication coverage by disenrolling from their MAPD plan.
Those who have joined a Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plan (which requires the purchase of a stand-alone PDP, if prescription drug coverage is wanted) can leave the plan and join Original Medicare, but they must keep their current PDP and continue paying its monthly premiums and fees at least until the next Annual Enrollment Period arrives in October.
Beneficiaries already enrolled in Original Medicare coverage cannot make any changes to their plan at this time.
Outside of the MADP: Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs)
Outside of the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, there are Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) that allow eligible beneficiaries to change certain aspects of their Medicare coverage as a result of a special personal circumstance. SEPs are limited to qualifying circumstances, such as:
- Moving to a new coverage area
- Suffering from certain chronic medical conditions
- Being enrolled or qualify in the federal Extra Help program
- Qualifying for the Medicaid program
- Your plan changes its contract with Medicare
- Other special situations (refer to Medicare.gov)
The best time to switch Medicare plans is during the AEP, because it is when all individuals enrolled in Medicare have the flexibility to make changes to their Medicare coverage. It is important that you take a detailed look at your Medicare coverage during the AEP and make any desired changes at that time in regards to your coverage for the following year. However, the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is a good “fallback” option for those who joined a Medicare Advantage plan during AEP and later decide that Original Medicare works better for them.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.