UNITED STATES─ Hello Toni: I recently attended a Medicare Advantage meeting because my Medicare Supplement Plan F is costing me $220 a month and was going to join. A friend introduced me to your articles explaining the different Parts and Plans of Medicare. Now I am having second thoughts.

My question is if I change to an Advantage plan and find out it’s not working for me. 1) Can I return to regular Medicare and apply for a new Medicare supplement? 2) Will I be able to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan for prescriptions. Thanks, Stephanie from Kingwood, TX.

Hi there, Stephanie: Good News…   For those who are not happy with the Medicare Advantage plan that they have picked for 2020, on page 72 of the Toni Says® Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, it explains how you can disenroll from the Medicare Advantage Plan. This time it is called the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period and starts January 1 thru March 31 (each year).

During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP), you can switch from your Medicare Advantage Plan to another MA Plan or to Original Medicare with or without a Part D plan. You can only use this period if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan not to change a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan.

You would think that Medicare would give you time to tryout a new Medicare Advantage plan and change to another option…but Medicare doesn’t!!

Stephanie since you currently have a Medicare Supplement, you may consider not cancelling your Medicare Supplement until you are comfortable with your Medicare Advantage choice, especially if you have a health issue. If you cancel your Medicare Supplement and wish to apply for a new Medicare Supplement you will now have to answer medical underwriting questions. What if you now have a serious health issue?

To disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan after March 31, you cannot because you are in “lock in” from April 1 to December 31. You will now have to wait until the next Medicare enrollment period, which begins October 15 thru December 7 to make your change for the next year with a start date of January 1.

At the Toni Says® office, we always advise a Toni Says® Medicare client to call their doctors to see which Medicare Advantage plans the healthcare professional/facility accepts before considering changing from Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement.

One thing to be aware of is that the doctor can also stop taking a Medicare Advantage plan in the middle of the year. If you find a Medicare Advantage plan that you like, and your doctor is not in the plan, then you might have to change doctors to use that plan.

Since you are spending about $220 on a Medicare Supplement and want something less expensive with the same access to doctors that accept “Original Medicare,” there may be a less expensive option. You might consider shopping for a different, less expensive Medicare supplement such as plan G or even plan N.

With new changes coming to Medicare Supplement Plan F beginning January 1, 2020, those that already have Plan F are experiencing significant rate increase and are baffled with what to do. America really does not realize that they can change their Medicare Supplement any time of the year because Medicare Supplements do not have the same enrollment rules or times as the Medicare Advantage plans do. Call the Toni Says® office at 832-519-8664 to schedule a Medicare review

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition is giving a “Holiday” $5 discount for a Medicare Survival Guide and $10 discount for bundle package available only at www.tonisays.com.