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.
Changing Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plans are private insurance plans standardized by the government.
They supplement Medicare Parts A and B by paying costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. For example, Medicare covers 80% of the costs after deductibles and the beneficiary is responsible for 20%.
When the beneficiary has a Medicare Supplement policy, like a plan F, they can forget about the deductibles and the 20% coinsurance and just focus on gaining better health.
Policies have a six-month Open Enrollment Period. This period begins the month after a beneficiary turns 65 and signed up for Original Medicare Part B.
During this time, you have a Guaranteed Issue right to 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 on the in either direction may lead to changes in your supplemental insurance.
Guaranteed Issue Right
When you enroll during your OEP, 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.
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. However, 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.
Deadline for Changing Medicare Supplement Plans
There is no deadline, the only restrictions on changing Medicare Supplement insurance plans is that the applicant may not be granted guarantee issue again.
This is extremely important to those with preexisting 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 Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. However, 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.
When Can I Change my Medicare Supplement Plan?
You can change your Medicare Supplement Plan anytime, just be aware that you might have to answer medical questions of your outside your Initial Enrollment Period.
Can I Cancel my Medicare Supplement Plan Anytime?
Yes, just be aware that if you decide to enroll again in the future, your premiums will increase, and you won’t be given guaranteed issue.
Can You Be Denied Medicare Supplemental Insurance?
Yes, unless you enroll when you’re first eligible during your Initial Enrollment Period. When you enroll during your IEP, you’re granted guaranteed issue. Therefore, you don’t have to answer any medical questions.
Can I Switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap?
Yes, at any time you can switch from a Medicare Advantage to a Medigap plan.
Click or Call to Change your Medicare Supplement Policy
Changing Medicare Supplement insurance can be more complicated than signing up 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.
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