Attention Medicare Beneficiaries: February 14th is the Last Day to Make Changes to Your Medicare Coverage

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February 14th is the last day to switch your Medicare coverage, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. From January 1st through February 14th, Medicare beneficiaries can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare. Contributing Editor: Jim Verville - MMAP Counselor, Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Michigan

Anyone who needs help with their Medicare benefits can call 1-800-803-7174 for free counseling.

If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you’ll have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month.

The Michigan Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program, also known as MMAP, reports that some beneficiaries have determined that they simply do not want to continue their Medicare Advantage policy. They have decided that this type of coverage does not work for them, or perhaps they are not sure what to do. They have an out. Medicare beneficiaries can either cancel their Advantage plan completely, or switch to a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Part D plan. The disenrollment/enrollment must take place no later than February 14th. Beneficiaries electing to do this will return to Original Medicare on March 1st. Those who elect to do this are not permitted to enroll in another Advantage policy, but they can apply for a Medicare supplement plan. Also, if they do not enroll in a stand-alone Part D drug plan, they will be subject to a penalty.

MMAP counselors are available to help beneficiaries compare their options.

“We have received calls from people who want to make the switch, and calls from some folks who aren’t quite sure,” said Jim Verville, the MMAP Regional Coordinator Region 10 in Traverse City. “Anyone who needs help with their Medicare benefits can call 1 – 800 – 803 – 7174 for free counseling.” Verville runs the MMAP program for the ten counties in Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula.

About Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP)
MMAP (pronounced “map”) provides free health benefits counseling services for Michigan’s Medicare beneficiaries, including younger adults who have Medicare due to a disability and Medicare beneficiaries who may also qualify for Medicaid. MMAP counselors provide personalized counseling to help beneficiaries understand and make informed decisions about their Medicare benefits and plan options. MMAP also promotes Medicare Fraud Awareness and works to educate beneficiaries on how to detect and report suspected Medicare Fraud.

MMAP is part of the national networks of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP) and Senior Medicare Patrols (SMP). It is dedicated to providing objective and confidential health benefits counseling services and is not affiliated with nor does it receive funding from the insurance industry. Funding for MMAP comes from grants from the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Beneficiaries who would like to talk with a MMAP counselor should call 1-800-803-7174.

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Jo Murphy
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