If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, also know as a Medigap policy, you may face rate increases at some point or you might not like something else about your current plan, don’t worry it’s normal, everyone experiences such stages with Medicare. Read this article to learn how Switching Medicare Supplement Plans works.
Medicare Supplement plans don’t replace Original Medicare. Instead, Medicare Supplement plans work alongside your Original Medicare coverage to help cover some of the costs that you would normally have to pay for on your own.
Every Medigap policy must follow federal and state laws designed to protect you, and it must be clearly identified as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” Insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” policy identified in most states by letters. All policies offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits, so you can choose which one meets your needs.
There is a total of 12 different Medigap plans, each is identified by a letter. Don’t wrap your head around all the different plans because most people only ever have or consider G, N, F & High Deductible G/F. Here is the chart of all the plans, the percentage you see in the boxes means that plan covers that amount on your behalf.
Do you have questions?
You might decide to switch plans because:
- Find a more affordable policy.
- Your paying for benefits you don’t need.
- Need a more comprehensive plan.
- Not satisfied with the company you are with.
Switching Medicare Supplement Plans?
You can switch Medicare Supplement Plans at ANY TIME of the year. There are no specific times when you can switch. Some people think they can only switch during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, but this is incorrect.
The Annual Enrollment period is for Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans only. Again as long as you can pass the underwriting, you can switch Medigap plans at any time.
If you are not in a guaranteed issue period, you will have to pass the necessary medical underwriting if you want to switch to a different Medigap plan.
If you can not pass the underwriting, the plan you want might decline you. NEVER cancel your current plan until your new plan is approved and you have it in writing that it’s active or will be in the near future (like the 1st of the following month).
Examples of What might get you declined or rated:
- Height and Weight is something every company takes into consideration. If you fall outside the chart, you might have to pay more or you might be declined.
- Diabetes with any of the following: retinopathy, neuropathy, peripheral artery disease, peripheral venous thrombotic disease, any heart disorder (Including hypertension/high blood pressure), stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA) or kidney disease.
- COPD, Arthritis, Joint Replacement, Cataract Surgery, Mostly Anything Heart Related, kidney disease, Use of a Wheelchair or any motorized mobility device, Chronic Hepatitis or Cirrhosis, Alcoholism or Drug Abuse.
- Currently hospitalized, confined to a bed, living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, Alzheimer’s or Dementia, Parkinson’s, MS, Lou Gehrig’s, Lupus, Transplants, Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator, HIV/ AIDS, Any Mental / Nervous Disorders, Internal Cancer, Lymphoma / Melanoma, Strokes / Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Hospitalized three or more times in the past two years for a same or similar condition.
Please Note: Some of the conditions mentioned above are OK if they happened over a certain amount of time ago or if you have been treated and no longer have it.
What if I Switch and I Don’t Like My New Plan?
You have the right to change your mind and cancel your new Medigap policy within the first 30 days if you are not happy with your company or coverage. This time frame is your “free-look period”, which starts the day you get your new Medigap policy.
Do I Have to Switch Plans if I Move to Another State?
In the event that you move to another state, you can keep your current Medigap policy. As long as you’re still in Original Medicare Parts A & B, there’s no need to switch plans. Medigap plans prices change by area, I would recommend that you check in your new state to see if you can find the same plan for less but you don’t have to.