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Can I Change Medicare Supplement Plans Anytime?


When considering changing your Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, there are a few things you should know ahead of time. 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 and are a great resource for anyone on Medicare. If you find yourself asking: Can I change Medicare Supplement plans anytime? You are in the right place.

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Below, we review when and how you can change your Medicare Supplement plan.

When Can You Change Medicare Supplement Plans?

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 montlly 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.

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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.

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 have guaranteed issue rights again.

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.

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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.

Do I 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 your Medicare Supplement plan as simple as possible for you.

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

14 thoughts on “Can I Change Medicare Supplement Plans Anytime?

  1. 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 answering health 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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