You might also encounter unexpected costs. Medicare Advantage plans are aggressively advertised during open enrollment season in the fall, and many are advertised as free. Although they may have a monthly premium of $0, the plans are not free. Hospital co-pay fees are one type of expense that might surprise recipients, Ratkovic says. Another unpleasant surprise could be if your prescriptions aren’t covered to the extent you’d like. Although you are unlikely to find a completely free plan, you can look for one that better suits your needs.
One option is to search for Medicare plans on Plan Finder, the official Medicare.gov site, or go through a broker. If you switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan, you will automatically be removed from your previous plan when your new coverage begins. To switch to the original health insurance, contact your current plan or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
Keep in mind that “Medigap” supplemental policies don’t work with Medicare Advantage, so you can’t use the former to pay for expenses incurred under the latter. If you want to switch to Original Medicare and purchase a Medigap policy to top it off, make sure you understand the rules: Unless you’re eligible for “trial entitlement” to coverage, health insurers may consult your medical records to determine whether or not to issue you a policy. They might charge you more or even reject your request, depending on your terms. Criteria vary by insurer, but poorly controlled diabetes and an ongoing cancer diagnosis are examples of conditions that may prevent you from purchasing a policy. Make sure you understand your eligibility before dropping your Medicare Advantage policy.