When considering changing Medigap plans, there are a few things you should know before you leap for change.
First, changing Medigap policies can be difficult if you don’t have an insurance agent in your corner. Agents can help you along the way; additionally, they’re a great resource for all beneficiaries.
If you’re enrolled in Medicare and thinking of changing plans, contact one of our insurance experts to talk about your options.
You can always change your plan. Recipients are never locked in for a certain amount of time. But if you do change it, you could face some restrictions that didn’t apply when you originally signed up.
Can I Change Medicare Supplement Plans?
Policies have a six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period begins the month after a beneficiary turns 65 and signed up for Part B. During this time, you can enroll in any one of the 10 standardized plans without going through medical underwriting.
This means an insurance company can’t turn you down or charge you more if you have a pre-existing health condition.
As a Medicare beneficiary, you can change supplements at any time. As a result, there’s no guarantee an application will be accepted if switched outside the designated Open Enrollment Period.
An application may be “medically underwritten”. This means the insurance company will use the applicants’ age and health history to decide if they will cover them, and what the premiums will cost. Therefore, a new policy may cost more than your old one.
Always remember, a quote is only a quote, it’s not a final offer. Don’t cancel coverage until you are approved for new coverage, this will prevent any possible lapses in coverage.
Any good insurance agent will tell you to keep your old coverage until your new coverage goes into effect.
Switching Medigap plans may be the best option under the following circumstances:
- No longer need the benefits
- You need additional benefits
- Get another insurance provider with cheaper options
- Change in the financial situation- a slight change in either direction may lead to changes in your supplemental insurance.
What is the Medicare Supplement Free Look Period?
Medigap plans come with a 30-day “free look” period. You can keep your old plan for 30 days after your new one starts. If you decide you liked the old one better, you can switch back and cancel the new one.
To take advantage of this, you will have to pay premiums for both plans for one month. But, if you change your mind after the free look period, you will have to reapply and meet medical underwriting guidelines.
It’s important to note, beneficiaries who had an older Medigap plan that is no longer offered won’t be able to go back to their old plan. If you never leave your older Medigap plan, you are automatically grandfathered in, once you change there may be no going back.
Guaranteed Issue Right
When you enroll during a Special Enrollment Period, you have “guaranteed issue right” when changing Medicare Supplement policies.
The insurance company must issue you a policy and can’t charge more based on your age or health conditions.
You might have guaranteed issue rights if:
- The insurance company for your current Medicare SELECT plan has left your service area, or you move out of the plan’s service area.
- You have Original Medicare and supplemental coverage through an employer group health plan, and that coverage is ending.
- Your current insurance company went bankrupt, or your coverage ends through no fault of your own.
- Your current insurer misled you or broke the law.
- You signed up for Medicare Advantage and within a year you decide you want to enroll in – or switch back to — Original Medicare with a Medigap policy.
What is the Deadline for Changing Medicare Supplement Plans?
There is no deadline, the only restrictions on changing Medicare Supplement plans are that the applicant may have guaranteed issue again.
This is extremely important to those with pre-existing conditions. If the carrier requires you to undergo the medical underwriting process, you could be denied coverage and not be able to get it back on your comprehensive plans’ coverage.
Just because you think you can’t change plans, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Working with an insurance agent, they will be able to tell you the best possible solution for your situation.
There are some situations that force you to cancel your Medicare Supplement plan and only keep Medicare or Medicare Advantage. But, you should be aware that the chances of getting the Medigap coverage back once you cancel are minimal.
Some companies may provide coverage under specific conditions after cancellation, although that may be impossible if you already have a pre-existing condition.
Ensure that you have another alternative before canceling your current plan. Remember, the cancellation of the old insurance should only happen after the start of the new insurance policy to prevent any gaps in coverage.
How to Get Help Changing Your Medicare Supplement Policy
Many people think Medicare is free. But, there are many costs you need to understand. This is why our recommendation is Medigap coverage.
Changing Medicare Supplement insurance can be more complicated than signing up for the first time. At MedicareFAQ, we want to make sure you get the coverage that’s right for you, at the best possible price.
The best plan for your neighbor may not be the best plan for you, let us help you get the coverage you deserve at a price you can afford.
We’ll give you quotes, answer questions, and help you navigate the application process.
Contact us today for a free quote by calling the number you see above. Our team of licensed insurance agents in your state are experts when it comes to Medicare guidelines and best practices.
We know your time is valuable if you prefer to compare rates online then fill out our online rate form.