Although you thought long and hard about which Medicare supplement plan to purchase, it’s entirely possible that your circumstances have changed since you enrolled in the Medigap plan that seemed right at the time.
Circumstances can change overnight. So can your health. And, fortunately, you aren’t obligated to remain with your current Medicare supplement plan for life.
In fact, you are well advised to reevaluate your current Medicare supplement plan from time to time, compare it to other plans available in your zip code area, and even apply for a new plan if it’s going to provide equal or better coverage at a lower price than the plan you have now.
MedicareMall’s handy Medicare plan quotefinder makes it easy for you to do just that!
Things to consider …
If you are 65 or older and have been enrolled in Medicare Part B for six months or less, you are able to leave your current Medigap plan while retaining your Medigap guaranteed issue rights. Guaranteed issue means you will be able to purchase any other Medigap plan available in your zip code area without having to provide information about your medical history. Guaranteed issue will apply as long as you are still within your six-month Medigap open enrollment period.
While you can apply to switch Medicare supplement plans at any other time, it is important to be aware that guaranteed issue may not apply once your Medigap open enrollment period has ended. As a result, your case may be subject to medical review, and your application may be rejected if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements insurance companies are able to impose according to their own practices and preferences.
As a result, you should never cancel your current Medicare supplement insurance until your new policy is approved—which often takes a month or more.
After carefully comparing all your Medigap options, you may wish to change plans because:
- Your financial situation has changed. Perhaps the amount you budgeted for healthcare several years ago is more than you can afford now. Or maybe the opposite is true and you have a little more disposable income than you used to have.
- You want better benefits. Maybe you’re getting tired of paying a high deductible and figure it’s time for a change. Maybe you’d like lower copayments or certain coverage you’re not getting now. Or maybe you figure it’s time to upgrade to Medigap Plan F, which is designed to cover all the high-risk gaps in Medicare.
- Your medical history has changed. Anyone’s healthcare concerns are likely to change over the years. You may well have new priorities and considerations when it comes to Medigap coverage.
- You’ve found a better value for your dollar. Medigap rates fluctuate, and it may well be that last year’s best value isn’t the best value any longer. MedicareMall shops the market constantly for the top deals, and will be happy to help determine the best value for your dollar at any time.
How to Change Medicare Supplement Plans
If you decide to switch Medicare supplement plans, the first thing to do is apply for the new policy. Once your application is accepted and you are issued your new policy, you will have to inform your old insurance company that you want your coverage to end. The company will tell you how to submit your request.
Before making a final decision to cancel your previous Medigap policy, you’ll have a 30-day free look period in which to try out your new Medigap plan. For this one-month period you’ll pay premiums for both plans. If you decide your new policy is right for you, you’ll have to cancel your first policy.
Switching Medicare supplement plans is that simple—and, remember, you can apply to do it any time another plan seems better suited to your circumstances and budget.
If you are under 65 …
If you are covered by Medicare because of a disability, you have the same six-month Medigap open enrollment period beginning the day you enroll in Medicare Part B. Your guaranteed issue right, however, applies only to Medigap Plan A.
This means companies selling Medicare supplement insurance in the United States cannot deny you a Medigap Plan A policy due to medical history or preexisting conditions. Although companies are not required to offer the other Medicare supplement insurance plans to Americans with disabilities, some companies choose to do so. As a result, your ability to change Medicare supplement plans during your open enrollment period depends largely on the practices of individual insurance companies.
Regardless of your guaranteed issue opportunities prior to turning 65, during the first six months after you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B you will have a right to purchase any Medigap plan available in your zip code area.
Have you ever switched Medigap plans? Leave a comment telling us why you made the change!
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