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When Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan?

Medicare Supplement plans allow you to enroll in coverage at any time once you are eligible. However, you’ll need to be sure you have guaranteed issue rights or are able to pass medical underwriting to gain admission to the plan of your choice. If you are not working with an insurance agent, switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans may be difficult as each carrier has different requirements when it comes to your health. Thus, an agent is a great resource to have at your disposal when you are new to Medicare or are making a change to your health coverage.

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Changing your Medicare Supplement plan does not have to be a difficult task. If you follow the right steps and understand how your coverage works, finding a plan should be a breeze. Below, we review Medigap enrollment windows, how often you can change plans, and the steps you should take to have the best chance of approval.

How Often Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan?

Medicare Supplement plans have a six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This window opens the first day of the month you turn 65 or enroll in Medicare Part B. During this time, you can sign up for any one of the 12 standardized Medigap plans without going through medical underwriting.

Thus, an insurance company cannot reject your application or charge you more for coverage if you have a pre-existing health condition.

As a Medicare enrollee, you can change Medigap plans at any time. As a result, there’s no guarantee the carrier will accept your application if you try to switch outside your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

After your open enrollment window closes, you may need to go through medical underwriting. This means the insurance company will use the applicant’s age and health history to determine approval of coverage and the monthly premiums. 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 the carrier approves you for a new plan. This will prevent any possible lapses in coverage.

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 more affordable options.
  • Change in your financial situation – a slight change in either direction may lead to changes in your supplemental insurance needs.

What is the Medicare Supplement Free Look Period?

Medicare Supplement plans come with a 30-day free look period. This means you have 30 days after your new plan begins to return to your old plan. If you decide your new plan is not for you, you can switch back to your old policy and cancel the new one.

Can I Change Medicare Supplement Plans With Guaranteed Issue Rights?

When you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period, you have “guaranteed issue right” when changing Medicare Supplement policies.

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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 leaves your service area, or you move out of the plan’s service area.
  • You have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) 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 at age 65, and within a year, you decide you want to enroll in Original Medicare with a Medigap policy.
  • You drop a Medicare Supplement plan to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time and decide to switch back to a Medicare Supplement plan within the first 12 months.

What is the Deadline for Changing Medicare Supplement Plans?

There is no deadline for changing Medigap plans. The only restrictions on changing Medicare Supplement plans are that the applicant may not have guaranteed issue rights again. Thus, you may have to answer medical underwriting questions to be accepted into the Medigap plan of your choice.

This is extremely important for those with pre-existing conditions. If the carrier requires you to undergo the medical underwriting process, you could face denial of Medicare Supplement coverage and not be able to get it back on your comprehensive plan’s coverage.

Just because you may think you can’t change plans does not mean it’s impossible. Each carrier has a different set of underwriting health questions. So, your condition may pass one carrier and not another. Working with an insurance agent can help you find the best possible solution for your needs.

There are some situations that force you to cancel your Medicare Supplement plan and only keep Original 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 your old insurance policy should only happen after the start of the new insurance policy to prevent any gaps in coverage.

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Do You Have to Renew Medicare Supplement Every Year?

You do not need to renew your Medicare Supplement coverage annually. If you wish to continue your coverage into the next year, you do not need to do anything special. The only time you will need to act is if you wish to enroll in a new Medigap plan, change your coverage, or decide to drop it altogether.

As Medicare Supplement plans auto-renew, you will never need to reapply for coverage. Additionally, you can never be kicked off your plan due to your health.

How to Change Medicare Supplement Plans

If you are interested in changing your Medicare Supplement plan, your best option is to work with a licensed Medicare agent. Working with an agent can ensure you enroll in the right plan for your needs at the lowest cost possible.

To receive your free plan comparison, complete our online rate form now or give us a call at the phone number above. Our agents are ready to make changing Medicare Supplement plans as simple as possible for you.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

14 thoughts on "When Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan?"

  1. My husband is 78. Has Blue Shield Medicare Supplement. But it is getting prohibitively costly and my husband is very healthy. We would like to change to United Healthcare, which is what I have. When can I request this change? Is it better to wait until his birthday in January to change? Or can he change now? When is the period that the change is guaranteed? Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Joanne, If your husband is enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan, he can change plans and carriers at any time, he just has to be able to pass medical underwriting. If you would like, complete this online rate form to receive rates in your area for Medigap plans through all available carriers, including UHC.

  2. Hi my mother in law changed from United to Humana during open enrollment. She is now in the hospital and transferring to a nursing home for rehab. The nursing home case worker said she needs to go back to her original United health coverage. Is she still within the 30 days from open enrollment to change back without needing to go through underwriting?

    1. Mo, this depends on carrier and plan type. Often, Medigap plans will not allow you to return to your previous plan once you have cancelled without going through underwriting. If she is on a Medicare Advantage plan, there is no health underwriting and she is within the MAEOP, so this could warrant a change.

  3. If I don’t change my plan during the enrollment period does that mean the $ quote givento me is no longer valid and I have to pay more?

  4. Can you change medigap policies mid year? My current policy is “renewed” in July. This allowed my current insurance company to increase my premium amount midyear. Can I change companies mid year? Is there a penalty or charge or is it not allowed?

    1. Hi Charlene – you can change Medigap policies, you’ll just likely need to go through Medical underwriting and answer health questions. Medigap plans renew each year as long as you pay the monthly premium.

  5. Is there a process I have to go thru when I move from NY to FL , and I”d like to keep the same medigap plan ?

    1. Hi Henry – you can keep the same Medigap plan when going from New York to Florida. However, plans in Florida tend to have lower premiums than plans in New York. You can consult with an agent licensed in your new state to find a comparable plan for a lower premium.

  6. We were interested in changing our Medigap to another company to save money. One thing you didn’t touch on that I could see is that the deductible, if there is one, starts over again. So if your policy change was in August, you paid a deductible to company A. Now you start back at $0 and start paying that deductible again to company B. Is that correct?

    1. Hi Morna! Since the deductibles are for Part A & Part B, which are based on benefit period and calendar year, those would not be impacted if you were to change Medigap plans. For example, if you changed from Plan G to Plan N and had already met the Part B deductible for the calendar year, you wouldn’t have to pay it again until the following year.

  7. I assume this message is going to Lindsay Engle.

    I have been on Medicare for 3 or 4 years. I have a supplement with Blue Cross-Blue Shield. I have been satisfied with the coverage that BC/BS has provided.

    However, I am not happy about their political stance relative to the recent election. I do not want profits that BC/BS make off of me to be used to enrich the politicians who trash Conservative law makers who contested the election.

    Therefore, I intend to drop BC/BS as soon as possible, and I’m hoping I don’t have to wait for the next open enrollment period this fall. Can I change to another company now, and can you help me do this?

    1. Hi Larry! Medigap plans do not have annual enrollment periods. You only have a once in a lifetime Open Enrollment Period to enroll in a Medigap plan without Medicare Supplement underwriting questions. Meaning, you can switch or change Medigap plans at any time of the year. You’ll just have to answer health questions if you’re outside your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. As long as you’re overall healthy, you should not have any issue switching plans. Now, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield, then you’ll have to wait until one of the next annual enrollment periods to make changes. You can make changes either during the annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period or the Fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Yes, we can help you! Just give us a call and we’ll point you in the right direction.

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