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Medicare is mind-boggling. I for one could relate how puzzling it is to navigate Medicare. I got the first taste of being confounded when I helped my father enroll in the program years ago. That was also the turning point that I realized that I wanted to help guide our seniors towards making a wise decision with their Medicare coverage, just like what I did with my father.
So, because of overwhelming details of the program, it is understandable if someone would like to switch to a different Medigap policy sometime after enrollment.
Want to know about my story? Read it here.
What are the reasons why you would like to switch to a different Medigap plan?
Sometime after enrollment, you’ll probably realize that what you got is not the kind of plan you need. There are reasons why you might be unhappy with your current Medigap plan. Some of them are:
- You don’t need or might not use the benefits that your current plan has.
- Your needs increased and your current plan is not enough to cover them.
- You are not happy with your insurance company provider.
- A cheaper policy is available.
- You have a Medicare SELECT plan and move out of coverage area of the plan.
There are also situations that may require you to switch to a different Medicare supplement plan. In this cases, you may be able to also enjoy the guaranteed issue rights. You may switch to another plan when:
- You will lose your current coverage because your insurance provider is closing or going out of business.
- The company that provides you with the Medigap policy has committed fraud.
- The company that sold you a policy has misled you.
You may also want to read about Switching Medicare Advantage To Medigap
Can I change my Medicare supplement policy?
Yes, you can change your Medigap policy anytime. But again, there is only one best time to switch to a different Medicare supplement policy. If you are considering to change your policy, the best time to do it is during your Medigap open enrollment period.
Why change policy during my open enrollment?
Your Medigap open enrollment period starts the moment you are 65 and has Medicare part B. It runs for just 6 months and can’t be repeated or be replaced in case you missed it.
During this period, you can enroll in any plan with guaranteed issue rights. Insurance companies can’t reject your application and can’t charge you with higher premiums because of pre-existing medical conditions.
What if I change policy after my Medigap open enrollment period?
If you change plans after your open enrollment period, you might have a hard time looking for an insurance provider who will be willing to sell you a Medigap policy. If ever you will find one, you may be asked to undergo medical underwriting and charge you a higher premium based on your current medical conditions.
Insurers might also refuse your application due to pre-existing conditions.
What is the free look period?
If you change your Medigap policy you’ll have 30 days to think and decide if you want to keep your new Medigap policy or go back to the old one. During this time you will have both policies at the same time.
If you want to switch plans, you may want to keep your old plan while having your new plan. This way, you can go back to the old plan in case you are not satisfied with the new one.
You have to pay for both premiums during this period or for 1 month.
To avail of the free look period, you have to notify and promise your insurance provider that you will cancel one of your Medigap policies when you have decided which one to choose.
What if I have an older Medigap policy? Am I required to change plans?
No. If you have an older Medigap policy, you have the right to keep that plan even though your old plan has a different set of benefits.
If you have an old Medigap plan with prescription benefits, you may want to think twice before switching to a newer plan. New plans don’t have prescription benefits, and switching might bring you a higher out-of-pocket cost due to prescription drugs that you have to cover on your own.
If your new Medigap plan has new benefits that are not featured in your old plan, you may have to wait for 6 months before the benefit will become active.
Also, know that you will not be able to return back once your old plan is canceled.
I am moving to another state/ location, should I consider switching to different Medigap plans?
If you are moving to another location, you do not have to or are not required to change Medigap plans. But if you want to switch to another policy, you will have to ask your Medigap insurance provider if they can offer you a different one.
Remember, insurers may charge you with higher premiums or ask you to undergo a Medical underwriting if you change plans outside Medigap open enrollment period.
If you have Medicare SELECT, you can do either of the following:
a. Switch to a new Medigap policy provided by a different insurance company.
You should be able to enjoy guaranteed issue rights when applying for Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L from any insurance company who sells them in the location where you are moving in.
b.Switch to standardized Medigap plan offered by your current Medigap policy provider. The insurance company must offer you the same or fewer benefits as with your current Medigap SELECT plan.
Switching or changing a Medigap plan is another major decision that you might have to make. If you are considering this path, always check first with your state insurance or Medigap companies in your area if you can avail of guaranteed-issue with the situation or reason that you have.
If you are still unsure of the actions that you need to take, don’t hesitate to reach out to Medigap experts. Feel free to connect with us and let our licensed insurance agents help you discover the right Medigap options for your needs.
You may obtain free quotes from us and one of our agents will soon discuss your Medigap options with you.