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Can I switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap?
Yes, you can!
But there are certain instances or factors that you need to consider first before you can switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement health insurance.
Seniors who are currently on a Medicare Advantage plan may want to switch to a Medicare Supplement plan. However, it might not for everyone. You may want to change if:
- You want to have the freedom to choose healthcare provider or want to have a wider choice of doctors. Medigap has the same access of network of doctors as the Original Medicare.
- You want more or wider benefits. Some Medicare Supplement plans provide foreign travel emergency coverage or an additional 365 more days of hospital coverage which a Medicare Advantage plans don’t provide.
- You want lesser out-of-pocket costs. Switch to avoid deductibles, copays or co-insurances and certain types of Medigap plans covers all or part of those costs.
- You want a better protection for your finances and assets. Medigap is generally considered by most people as the best way to protect your finances from expensive costs of healthcare services.
Also, read the comparison of Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement
When can I change my plan from Medicare Advantage to Medigap?
There are limited situations when you can switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap and have guaranteed issue. So you have to pay attention to different periods and various special circumstances.
Here are the situations you need to take note:
1. Do the shift within your first year in Medicare Advantage Plan.
a. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan when you were first eligible and decide within the first year to switch to Original Medicare (just Part A and Part B).
You can enroll in any Medicare supplement insurance plan available in your area 60 days before your Medicare Advantage coverage ends and 63 days after the coverage ends.
b. When you switch from Medigap to have Medicare Advantage and want to switch back within 12 months or 1st year.
2. Do the policy transition during the special enrollment period
a. If you move to a location that your Medicare Advantage no longer covers or if you move out of the plan’s area of coverage or if the plan no longer serves your location.
b. If your Medicare Advantage plan insurance company provider mislead you or it did not follow the rules.
You can apply in Medigap plans A, B, C, F, K or L for both situations, provided that you do it 60 days before coverage ends to 63 days after coverage ends. You have 60 days before coverage ends to 63 days after coverage ends.
3. Do the switch during Annual Election Period
The period runs annually from October 15 to December 7th.
The Medicare Annual Election Period is usually for switching from one Medicare Plan to another ( from Medicare Advantage to another like Medicare Part D). But it can also be a good time to switch from Advantage plan to a Medigap plan.
Doing the switch during this period will need you to answer medical questions which approval process can take up to 10 business days. Once approved you can then choose to have a drug plan or not.
Select a prescription drug coverage after you get approved for Medigap because signing up for Part D plan will automatically cancel your current Medicare Advantage plan. If you don’t get approved, you can stay in your current plan or choose to switch to another option.
Do the switch before the period ends (Dec 7th). Medigap approval is not always guaranteed in this period.
4. Do the switch during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment period
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period happen every January 1 up to February 14. During this period you can drop your Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, or get a prescription drug plan or enroll in a Medigap plan.
Note that you have to wait to be approved for Medigap before enrolling in a drug plan.
Here are other things that you should keep in mind:
• Do not drop your Medicare Advantage plan without being approved for Medigap
• Apply for Medicare Supplement plan that should start on 1st of February or 1st of March.
• Know that once you join a drug plan, your Medicare Advantage plan will be automatically cancelled.
• Get a drug plan only after you get approval for Medigap. Get a drug plan that has the same starting date with your Medigap plan.
How do I transition from Medicare Advantage plan to Medigap?
If you already made up your mind and want to continue switching from Medicare Advantage Plan to Medigap, then your next steps should be:
- Identify the best type of Medigap plan according to the benefits that you need.
- Get a Medicare supplement quote to have an idea how much premiums you will add to your budget.
- Ask the help of an expert or licensed insurance agent.