When Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan
When Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan?
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap, help cover some of the out of pocket expenses you’re responsible for paying with Original Medicare. These can include copayments or coinsurance amounts. Some may also cover part or all of the Part A deductible, and medical expenses while you’re traveling abroad.
When you can change your Medigap plan
You can technically apply for a plan at any time as long as you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. However, a plan can deny your application unless you have guaranteed issue rights. This rings true for switching your supplement plans.
Under guaranteed issue rights, there are circumstances where the entity that offers your supplement plan isn’t allowed to turn down your application. Your 6 month Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts when you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B. During this period, you’ll have a guaranteed issue right to buy any Medigap plan sold in your state. You can’t be turned down or charged more for any pre-existing medical conditions. After this period ends, you’ll be subject to medical underwriting.
For California residents, the California Medigap Birthday Rule also applies. This rule gives you 60 days from your birth date to switch your supplement plan, and the insurance company can’t deny you due to your health or pre-existing conditions.
Can you switch Medicare Supplement plans any time you want?
If you have a supplement plan and you want to switch it to another one outside of your open enrollment period, and the California Medigap Birthday Rule doesn’t apply to you, the insurance company can review your health history and look at your current health or any pre-existing conditions. They can refuse you, or they can charge you a higher premium.
The exception is for people who have guaranteed issue rights to change their plans. A few situations that could apply to you under this circumstance include but are not limited to:
- You’re a first-time Medicare Advantage plan user, and you want to drop it to get a Medicare Supplement plan instead.
- You purchased a Medicare SELECT plan, but you’re moving to a new state that doesn’t offer coverage for this particular plan.
- You’ve been with your current supplement insurance plan for less than six months.
Keep in mind that these are just a few examples, and there are other instances where you could change your policy. You can call a licensed insurance representative and compare plans.
How you change Medicare Supplement plans
If you want to switch your plan, call the insurance company that’s offering the plan you want to switch to. You’ll have to submit an application for them to review. If they accept it, you can call your current supplemental insurance company and ask how to end your current benefits.
Ideally, you’ll keep your current plan for at least 30 days to ensure that the new plan fits your lifestyle. If you decide the new plan is a good fit, cancel your current policy in writing to your original insurer. They’ll give you instructions on how to proceed, and they can’t cancel it for you. If you decide the new plan isn’t working, you can stay on your old one. However, once you cancel it, it’s difficult to get it back.