[post updated for 2018]

You had it on your list.

You were meaning to check into your Medicare Plan changes for 2018.

Somehow the deadline slipped by.

Did you know it’s not too late to drop your Medicare Advantage plan in January?

While you can’t change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan, for those thinking about dropping Medicare Advantage altogether, or moving to a Medigap policy, read on!

Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period   (MADP)

This post is going to explain to you how the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period works; the step by step process to follow, and how to know you are doing the right thing.

From page 75 of your Medicare & You guidebook (Download here – 2018 Medicare & You):

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period runs from January 1st to February 14th.

For folks that missed the Annual Election Period (October 15th-December 7th), this is another opportunity to cancel enrollment in your Medicare Advantage Plan (but there’s limitations, so keep reading)!

The rules during this time also allow you to add a “stand-alone” drug plan.

Here’s the excerpt from page 75:


Be aware that during this period, as stated in the excerpt, you CANNOT join a Medicare Advantage Plan, switch your existing drug plan to a new drug plan, or make any changes to your Medicare Medical Savings account plan.

You may only add a stand-alone drug plan if dropping your Medicare Advantage Plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.

Read This Before You Consider Dropping Your Medicare Advantage Plan!

Chances are, if you are considering dropping your plan, you still want some type of supplemental coverage.

Unless you’ve only been enrolled in your Medicare Advantage Plan for 12 months or less, the ONLY way to qualify for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap plan), is to go through medical underwriting.

Therefore, I don’t recommend dropping your plan until you have submitted an application for a Medicare Supplement, and have already been approved.

Why Switch?

You may find it hard to imagine what benefit there could be to switching from a “zero premium” plan.

In a recent  post, I covered 7 reasons to drop Medicare Advantage and  switch to a Medigap Policy:

Secure your future with Medigap

  • Freedom
  • Securing your future
  • Predictable monthly costs (no surprises)
  • Your plan can be cancelled. (Medigap can’t)
  • Ability to travel and use any doctor or hospital
  • No pre-authorization required
  • No more referrals on Medigap!

Freedom is considered by many to be important.  Freedom to see any doctor or specialist becomes an even greater priority as you age and develop chronic conditions.

Did you know that you are only guaranteed enrollment into a Medicare Supplement (Medigap policy) the first 6 months you are enrolled in Medicare Part B?

If you miss your Medigap Open Enrollment, you will have to answer medical questions later, and could be denied.

If you’ve been thinking about switching, and your health is still good, read the steps below to make the switch.

 4 Easy Steps: How to Drop Your Medicare Advantage Plan in January and Replace it with a Medigap Plan


1.) Keep your existing Medicare Advantage Plan until January or February.  (Don’t disenroll until you get approval from your Medicare Supplement (Medigap) company).

2.) Apply for a Medicare Supplement with a February 1st, or March 1st effective date (depending on the date you apply – the carrier or your agent can help with this). You’ll be required to answer the medical questions on the application.

3.) If your Medicare Supplement application is approved, call 1-800-Medicare ASAP (as early as January 1st), to cancel your Medicare Advantage Plan, effective February 1st, or March 1st.

4.) Enroll in your stand-alone Part D Drug plan while on the phone with Medicare, or have your agent help you.

Follow these steps to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage.

We’d love to hear your questions or comments below!