Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Plan Anytime?

Yes, you can change Medicare Supplement plans anytime, but you may have to undergo Medical underwriting to qualify. Here we cover reasons you may want to change, and what requirements you may encounter.

When Can I Change Medigap Policies?

If you have a Medigap plan, you can change anytime; let’s explore why you may change and if you have any guaranteed issue rights to make the process easier. Changing plans and insurance companies might also help you to find a more affordable plan.

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The Medicare Supplement “Free Look” Period

You will have a 30-day free look period when you switch Medigap plans. During this period, your old plan can continue for the first 30 days after your new plan begins. During those 30 days, you can switch back to your old plan and cancel your new one if you prefer your old one without penalty.

However, you will be required to pay the premiums for both plans for the one-month free look period. In addition, if you do not decide to switch back until after the free look period is over, you will be required to reapply for your old plan and undergo medical underwriting before you are approved for health coverage under your old plan.

It is also essential to understand what might happen if you have an older plan that is no longer offered. For example, if you have Medicare Part F and decide to try a different plan, you won’t be able to return to your old plan. By contrast, if you remain with your older plan, you are grandfathered in and can continue with your plan as long as you do not leave it.

Guaranteed-Issue Rights

During your Medigap enrollment period, you have guaranteed issue rights. This means you can’t be charged more for your plan based on pre-existing conditions than healthy people of the same age. Instead, your insurance company must issue a policy to you and cannot charge you more based on your medical conditions or age. This period lasts six months, three months before your 65th birthday and three months after.

In addition to the initial enrollment period, you might also have guaranteed issue rights when changing Medicare Supplement plans if the insurance company for your Medicare Select current plan has left your plan’s service area or if you relocate away from it.

Other events that could trigger a special enrollment period with guaranteed issue rights include the following:

  • You have Medicare Parts A and B and supplemental coverage ending through your employer’s group health plan.
  • Your current coverage ended through no fault of your own.
  • Your insurance company went bankrupt.
  • Your insurance company broke the law or misled you.
  • After enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan within a year, you decided to switch to Original Medicare and a Medigap plan.

In any of these situations, you will have guaranteed issue rights, during which private insurance companies cannot deny you based on your age or health conditions.

Open Enrollment Period (State Specific)

Certain states have special rules that allow Medigap policyholders to change their Medicare Supplement insurance plan at specific times without undergoing medical underwriting. In addition, a few states have anniversary guaranteed-issue rules, and others have birthday rules that allow plan changes.

The following two states have annual guaranteed issue rules for Medigap policy changes:

  • Maine – Allows open enrollment each year during June
  • Missouri – Allows policyholders to change from the same plan to another plan providing the same benefits starting 30 days before the anniversary of the annual policy until 30 days after the anniversary

The following states allow changes to a new policy according to birthday rules:

  • California – Allows Medigap plan changes during an open enrollment period lasting from the beneficiary’s birthday to 60 days after it
  • Idaho – Has a 63-day open enrollment period with guaranteed issue rights starting on the beneficiary’s birthday
  • Illinois – Beneficiaries in a specified age range have a 45-day window open enrollment period starting on their birthday
  • Nevada – Allows beneficiaries to enroll in new plans during a 61-day open enrollment period around their birthdays
  • Oregon – Provides a 30-day Medigap open enrollment period with guaranteed issue rights around the beneficiary’s birthday

The following states allow people to enroll in new Medigap insurance plans without medical underwriting year-round:

  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • Washington

Vermont beneficiaries can also benefit from year-round enrollment without underwriting for policies issued by United Healthcare or Mutual of Omaha.

Ready to Learn More?

Choosing the right Medicare Plan is not a decision that should be taken lightly. With Policy Guide’s assistance, you will have access to the knowledge and expertise of professional agents who can help you compare different health plans, quotes, and policies to ensure that you make an informed decision. Let us guide you through this process, so that your chosen plan best suits your needs.

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Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.