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Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans

by Garrett Ball
Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans

If you need to drop, change or enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, you can do it at any time of the year. But before you make any changes, you need to consider whether you should make any changes or stay with whatever plan you currently have. Although you might be very satisfied with your Medicare Supplement plan now, it might not be suitable any longer because of your present needs or because of changes to the cost of your plan. As life events may have arisen, your current coverage could fall short of providing you with adequate coverage or may not meet all your needs for the duration of your life. You should consider very carefully the decision to change to another Medigap plan and/or company. Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans
Some common reasons why you should consider switching Medigap plans, or switching from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medigap plan are described below.

  • You are unhappy with your current Medigap policy because
  • the customer service being provided is substandard
  • your premiums have sky rocketed and you can no longer afford the increases
  • you want to change your level of coverage (i.e. Plan F to Plan G)
  • You have a Medicare Advantage Plan, but you are not happy with it because
  • the customer service being provided is substandard
  • your doctors are not in the Advantage plan network
  • you feel you just don’t have enough coverage and buying a Medigap policy would cover your healthcare more adequately
  • you fear that if you do acquire a major illness, you might be declined if you decide to switch at some time in the future, and you would rather change now.

What to consider when switching plans

When making that change to a Medigap plan, you should do a comparison of plans, i.e. which plans are available in your area and what benefits they offer (Plans F, G, N, etc). Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, however, they may vary widely in cost. You must get the same level of coverage no matter which company you buy your supplement from. In other words, one Medigap Plan G is the exact same as another Medigap Plan G. Your main goal is to find the best company at the lowest premium. Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans
Note: If you are not satisfied with your Medicare Advantage plan, you have certain rights by federal law to buy a Medicare Supplement plan. You are entitled to these rights provided it is within 12 months of signing up for Original Medicare.

You cannot have both Medicare Advantage and Medigap, so you must be disenrolled from your Medicare Part C (Advantage) plan at the time a Medigap plan takes effect. You will need to contact your current plan and let them know that you want to go back to Original Medicare. Or you can disenroll from Medicare Advantage by signing up for a standalone Part D plan. For Medicare Advantage, the disenrollment process can only be done during certain times of the year or under special circumstances:

  • Annual Election Period (only for Part C and Part D): October 7 to December 15 each year. The change will take place the following January 1st. What changes can you make during the annual election period?
  • Annual Disenrollment Period (only for Part C and Part D): January 1 to February 14 each year. The change takes effect the 1st of the month following your request.

If you had a Medigap policy before you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to get the same policy back if it is still sold by that company. Otherwise you can buy another Medigap policy. Please note, that some states may provide additional special rights.

When is the best time to enroll in a Medigap Plan?

The best time for you to enroll in a Medigap plan is:

  • when you first turn 65. However, for you to be eligible, you must have already signed up for Medicare Part B. This is called the “Open Enrollment Period”. It is the 6-month period, which begins the 1st day of the month that you turn 65 and are in Medicare Part B. During this time, you have guaranteed issue rights. This means you cannot be declined in a Medicare Supplement plan because of your health. Even if you have health issues or pre-existing conditions, you are waived from answering any health questions, and must be offered the best available rate as anyone else who is in good health.
  • You are not limited to purchase a Medigap plan only during the open enrollment period or guaranteed issue rights. You are permitted to change it at any time since Medicare Supplement plans are not subject to the same guidelines as Medicare Advantage plans are. That said, you will, in most cases, have to undergo medical underwriting.

Whatever Medicare Supplement plan you switch to, make sure that you contact your current insurance company after you get approved by your new plan’s insurance company. This will prevent any duplication of coverage or any gap in coverage. You cannot have two Medigap plans at the same time. Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans

Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans

Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans Switching Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans

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