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Is it Hard to Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare?

November 14, 20235 min read

Many people enrolled in Medicare Advantage later decide they want to switch back to Original Medicare. Whether you want more freedom to choose providers, are dealing with high out-of-pocket costs, or are unsatisfied with plan changes, you may be considering making the change to Original Medicare. But is it difficult to switch from Medicare Advantage Plans?

Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage Plans are an alternative way to receive your Medicare benefits from private insurers. Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage Plans provide all of your Part A and Part B coverage and often include extra benefits like vision, dental, hearing, and prescription drugs. However, networks are limited and out-of-pocket costs can be unpredictable.

Original Medicare Plan

Under Original Medicare, you receive your Part A hospital and Part B medical coverage directly from the federal government. You can see any provider nationwide who accepts Medicare. You can also add supplemental coverage through a Medigap Plan and a separate Medicare Part D Plan.

Reasons to Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

There are several common reasons people consider switching from MA plans back to Original Medicare:

  • To have freedom in choosing providers and specialists without network restrictions

  • Avoiding the prior authorizations and referrals required by many MA plans

  • Dissatisfaction with frequent changes in MA plan coverage, networks, and costs

  • High out-of-pocket costs under many MA plans

  • Prefer the supplemental coverage options like Medigap Plans not available in MA

How to Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

The process to switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare is fairly straightforward. Here are the steps:

  1. First, check to see if you're eligible to make a change. The Annual Enrollment Period each fall or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31 are the most common times.

  2. Next, review Original Medicare options like Medigap Plans and Part D drug plans. Enroll in the plan(s) you want for supplemental coverage.

  3. Disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan. You can enroll in Original Medicare online, by calling 1-800-MEDICARE, or directly through your plan.

  4. Finally, send your request to leave your Medicare Advantage Plan. Your coverage will switch over the first of the following month after the plan gets your request.

When to Change Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

The two main times you can switch from Medicare Advantage Plans back to Original Medicare include:

  • Annual Enrollment Period: October 15 to December 7 each year for coverage effective January 1

  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: January 1 to March 31 each year for coverage effective the first of the next month

Outside these periods, your ability to switch plans is limited so it's important to pay attention to enrollment deadlines.

Pros and Cons of Switching from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare

Pros of Switching to Original Medicare

  • Freedom to see any provider who accepts Medicare

  • No referrals needed to see specialists

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs with supplemental coverage

  • Access to Medigap Plans for more coverage

Cons of Switching to Original Medicare

  • Possibly higher premiums for Medigap Plans

  • Need to enroll in Part D prescription plan separately

  • No additional benefits like vision and dental


While it takes some preparation, it is not overly difficult to switch from Medicare Advantage Plans back to Original Medicare. Carefully consider your options during enrollment periods, choose supplemental coverage, and submit your disenrollment request to make the change. Planning ahead ensures you end up with the right Medicare coverage.

We’re Here to Help

You do not have to spend hours reading articles on the internet to get answers to your Medicare questions. Give the licensed insurance agents at Bourgeois Insurance a Call at (985) 803-8999. You will get the answers you seek in a matter of minutes, with no pressure and no sales pitch. We are truly here to help.


What is the Medicare open enrollment period?

From October 15 - December 7 each year, you can enroll in or change your Medicare Advantage or drug coverage, effective the following January 1.

When can I sign up for Medicare Part B?

 During your initial enrollment period - the 7 months surrounding your 65th birthday. After that you may pay higher premiums without qualifying health coverage.

How do I switch to Original Medicare coverage?

 The annual open enrollment period is the main time, but you can also switch to Original Medicare within the first 3 months of the year if dissatisfied.

What are my options if I want to drop your Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare?

 From January 1-March 31 each year you have a trial period to disenroll from an Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare.

When can I enroll in a Medicare drug plan?

 During your initial enrollment period for Part D, or the annual open enrollment period. You may pay penalties if enrollment is delayed without qualifying coverage.

What is the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

 Original Medicare is government-run Parts A & B. Advantage Plans, also called Part C, are run by private insurers under contract with Medicare.

How do I find a Medicare Advantage or drug plan?

 Use the Medicare Plan Finder to search for prescription drug plan on for personalized plan comparisons and to enroll online or print a form to complete by mail.

When is the enrollment period for Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)?

 The annual open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7 applies to changes between MA plans or addition/drop of drug coverage within MA plans.

What happens if I miss the Medicare enrollment periods?

 You may face late penalties on your Part B or Part D premiums for as long as you have that coverage. Enroll when first eligible to avoid premium increases.

Can I switch between Medigap Plans outside of open enrollment?

Generally no - guaranteed issue rights exist for Medigap during enrollment windows or qualifying life events like moving out of a plan's service area.

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