Written by Ari Parker — Updated: Friday, July 21, 2023
If you’re unhappy with your coverage, you may be considering disenrolling from Medicare. Make sure to proceed with caution, because dropping your Medicare coverage could have negative repercussions if you don’t handle the transition with care. Navigating Medicare plans and coverage can feel like an endless puzzle, and that’s why we’re here to help! If you’re considering dropping your coverage or switching to another plan, give us a call to get all of your questions answered and receive free advice whenever you need it.
Now, let’s dive into how to disenroll from Medicare’s different Parts and plans, and what the risks could be.
Part A is your hospital insurance, and has a $0 premium for most beneficiaries. You can only drop Part A if you pay a premium for it, which is uncommon, since Part A is free for most Americans. Part B is your medical insurance. The premium (as of 2023) is $164.90/mo, and you can choose to drop your coverage.
If you do choose to drop Medicare Part B without replacing it, beware of what the gap in coverage may mean for you. You’ll be responsible for covering 100% of the costs that Part B covers, and if you do choose to re-enroll later, you’ll likely need to wait until the next General Enrollment Period (January 1 - March 31 each year), and your coverage won't start until July 1 of the year you re-enroll. Additionally, you’ll likely incur a late enrollment penalty for every month you go without Medicare coverage.
Dropping Original Medicare generally requires a written request with your signature. To get started, you should contact Social Security.
If you recently received a welcome packet saying you’ve been automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you can follow the instructions in the packet and send your Medicare card back to disenroll.
If you drop Part B and not Part A, you’ll receive a new Medicare card that shows you have Part A coverage.
Many Americans choose to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (Part C), which must cover at least as much as Original Medicare and can come with additional coverage and benefits, sometimes including prescription drug and vision coverage. Medicare beneficiaries can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage only during the Annual Enrollment Period, which lasts from October 15 - December 7 every year.
You’ll receive many messages from Medicare professionals around the Annual Enrollment Period. They’ll share news and information about shiny new benefits offered by certain Medicare Advantage plans. Be careful to understand the details of these plans before switching to avoid losing coverage you need. You can always reach out to a Chapter Advisor to ask questions, get help understanding your coverage options, and switch plans.
You cannot be enrolled in Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage at the same time, so you’ll never need to worry about double paying for coverage. If you switch during the Annual Enrollment Period, your new coverage will take effect on January 1.
If you find that your Medicare Advantage plan isn’t working for you, then you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or Original Medicare during the Open Enrollment Period, which lasts from January 1 - March 31.
If you’re on a Medicare Advantage plan that's bad for you, you can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or Original Medicare during the annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15 - December 7) or the Open Enrollment Period, between January 1 and March 31 of every year. You are also able to sign up for a standalone Part D plan (prescription coverage) during either of these periods
You should work with an advisor who will help you understand your options and determine the best coverage for your needs.
Unless you have a special circumstance, you can only drop your Part D plan during the Annual Enrollment Period, which lasts from October 15 - December 7 each year. During this time, you’re eligible to sign up for a different Prescription Drug plan or a Medicare Advantage + Prescription Drug plan.
If you drop your Part D plan without a replacement, you can sign up for another Part D plan in the future, but if you go more than 63 days without creditable prescription drug coverage, you’ll have to wait for an enrollment period to sign up, and you may incur a late enrollment penalty.
You can disenroll from a Medicare Supplement plan at any time, but beware that doing so can be consequential. When you initially enroll in Original Medicare, you have a guaranteed issue for Medicare Supplement plans, meaning providers cannot deny you coverage due to your medical history. If you disenroll, and later wish to re-enroll in the same or a different Medicare Supplement plan, you do not have guaranteed issue, and therefore will likely need to undergo medical underwriting, and may not be accepted into the plan you want.
Disenrolling from Medicare can have significant short-term and long-term consequences, which is why we strongly recommend speaking with one of our expert Advisors before making a change. We’ll help you understand your options to make the best decision for you, and can help avoid unnecessary consequences of dropping or switching your coverage.