Opting out of Medicare Part C

Advantage Plans are actually the "opt out" option to traditional Original Medicare. However, once you join an Advantage Plan you may find that you are not happy with the plan, the company or any number of other things. You can leave an Advantage Plan and join another plan once a year during Annual Enrollment. You can also choose to go back to Original Medicare once a year.

Special Circumstances let you Opt Out of Advantage Plans

People with Special Circumstances such as moving or renewed employment can leave their Advantage Plan without penalty at anytime of the year as long as they sign up for another form of creditable coverage. Save all documentation in case you need to file an appeal in the future.

If you just decide to opt out of your Advantage Plan you will automatically be switched back to Original Medicare. Unless you can demonstrate creditable coverage through another source you cannot simply drop your Advantage Plan and presume that you are free to go. Original Medicare B coverage is generally more expensive than Advantage. You can opt out of Original Medicare Part B, but if you are leaving your Advantage Plan for financial reasons you should look into getting Extra Help (assistance for paying for Medicare). In some cases you can also suspend you Medicare coverage (and payments) for up to two years.

Once switched back to Original Medicare you can opt of Medicare Part B but you cannot opt out of Medicare Part A without losing your Social Security payments. Social Security is a valuable asset so carefully consider the decision to opt out of Medicare entirely.

Auntie Lou says, "Just a warning, they will label you as INFIRM if you don't want Original Medicare Part A."

In summary, you can opt out of a particular Advantage Plan yearly to join another Advantage Plan or to rejoin Original Medicare. However, you cannot simply drop Medicare entirely without also losing your Social Security benefits. Before opting out, investigate all your alternatives and find out if you qualify for Extra Help, Medicaid, or are able to suspend your coverage.