En español | Medicare Advantage plans sometimes cease service in some areas, withdraw from Medicare entirely, go out of business for financial reasons, or (occasionally) are suspended or shut down by Medicare for poor service or violations of the law. If you are affected by any of these events, you will receive warning notices from the plan or Medicare, or both, in plenty of time for you to sign up with another plan.
If the plan stops providing service at the end of the year, you’ll be able to choose another plan during open enrollment (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) and your new coverage will begin Jan. 1.
If the plan stops providing service earlier in the year, you will receive a letter from Medicare notifying you of which other plans in your area you can sign up with, and how long you get to make the change.
If you don’t sign up with another Medicare Advantage plan, coverage under original Medicare automatically kicks in. In other words, in this situation you cannot lose Medicare coverage for your health care needs.
If you received drug coverage from the Advantage plan, you will need to sign up with a stand-alone Part D drug plan to continue getting Medicare coverage for your prescription drugs.
If you want to buy Medigap supplemental insurance, you should do so within 63 days of your Medicare Advantage plan ending. Losing coverage from an Advantage plan that stops service in your area, for whatever reason, is one of the circumstances that give you the right to buy Medigap insurance with full federal protections. During that time frame, insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you a Medigap policy or charge you higher premiums based on your current health status or preexisting medical conditions.