When Can I Change My Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan?
Unlike Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D is Medicare's prescription drug plan program. Plans are offered by private insurance companies and cover outpatient prescriptions...., there isn’t an Annual Election Period (In health insurance, open enrollment is a period during which a person may enroll in or change their selection of health plan benefits. Health plan enrollment is ordinarily subject to restrictions....) for Medicare supplements. That’s good news.
The bad news is that switching Medicare supplements – to a different carrier for a better rate or to a different plan for better coverage – often requires you to go through medical underwriting for approval. However, you can make these changes any time of year.
Related Article: Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment
This is a common point of confusion because many people think that Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) applies to all plans. During AEP, people with an Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan (prescriptions) can switch plans, because these plans do not require medical underwriting for approval.
AEP does not apply to supplemental Medicare insurance, also known as Medigap. These plans have their own set of rules.
Medicare Supplements Give You a One-Time Open Enrollment Period
The federal government coined the term Medigap at the same time Medicare was enacted into law in 1965. However, it did not make Medigap part of the Medicare system. Medigap is private indemnity insurance that’s regulated at the state level. The federal government only regulates what coverage is allowed.
Medigap plans are more like life insurance than traditional health insurance policies. They pay a predictable amount on different coverages. This is just one of the reasons that they are so popular; they are predictable. But, getting a policy is not always guaranteed, as it is with Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D.
When you turn age 65, or first enroll in Medicare Part B is medical coverage for people with Original Medicare. It covers doctor visits, specialists, lab tests and diagnostics, and durable medical equipment. Part A is for hospital inpatient care.... (whichever comes later), you have a one-time-only period to buy any Medigap plan you want without question. This a six-month period of time, during which you have a Guaranteed-issue is a right granted to Medicare beneficiaries and applies to Medicare Supplement insurance (aka, Medigap plans). All states and the federal government enforce this essential right, which protects Medicare beneficiaries from medical underwriting..... These rights allow you to choose your supplement, and the company you want to buy it from, without fear of being rejected based on your health or age.
Also See: Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue
After your six-month open enrollment period has ended, all bets are off. You can still apply for coverage, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted. That’s because Medigap insurance companies have the right to ask you health questions on their application, just like you would answer when applying for life insurance. To get coverage, you must be able to pass the carrier’s medical underwriting process.
What If My Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue Period Over?
If your one-time open enrollment period is over you can apply for a plan, or switch plans, at any time of year. It’s only Medicare Advantage (MA), also known as Medicare Part C, are health plans from private insurance companies that are available to people eligible for Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B).... and Part D plans that restrict changes to the Fall Annual Election Period. Medicare Supplements are additional insurance policies that Medicare beneficiaries can purchase to cover the gaps in their Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) health insurance coverage.... are different.
Just realize that changing Medigap plans, or getting one for the first time, may require underwriting. Most people think about shopping rates for about a month or so before their policy anniversary each year. This is typically when your insurance carrier will notify you if they are taking a rate increase and how much it will be, so it’s a good time to call your agent to shop for better rates.
If your agent finds a significantly better rate, ask them to walk you through the carrier’s health questions to see if you are likely to pass medical underwriting. Basically, if you can truthfully answer no to all of the questions, you should be able to get through underwriting with no issues.
To put it succinctly, if you’re in good health and remain in good health you can take advantage of better rates when they come available. If your health declines, take stock in knowing your policy cannot be canceled.
Is there a deadline for changing Medicare supplement plans?
No. After your six-month open enrollment period expires, you’re free to change plans at will. In most cases, though, there’s no reason to switch plans or carriers until you’re notified of a rate increase and want to shop for a lower rate. Just realize that all carriers must increase their rates sooner or later to keep up with inflation and healthcare costs.
Exceptions in California, Oregon, Washington, and Missouri
California, Oregon, Washington, and Missouri have rules that, in some circumstances, allow you to change plans without medical underwriting. In these states, you can change plans once a year, without underwriting, if you are switching to an equal or lesser plan. Call your agent for details if you live in one of these states or you’re planning to move.
Get Professional Help Changing Your Medigap Plans
As you now know, Medicare’s Annual Election Period in the fall is for your Part D drug plan changes. AEP is also for you if you plan to switch from Original Medicare is private fee-for-service health insurance for people on Medicare. It has two parts. Part A is hospital coverage. Part B is medical coverage.... to Medicare Advantage or from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare. However, if you’re coming back, it isn’t guaranteed that you will be approved for Medigap coverage.
Do you want to know if you can switch Medicare supplement plans and lower your monthly A premium is an amount that an insurance policyholder must pay for coverage. Premiums are typically paid on a monthly basis. In the federal Medicare program, there are four different types of premiums. ...? Call 1-855-728-0510 (TTY 711) and speak with a licensed HealthCompare insurance agent. There’s no obligation, and they offer more plan options than any other national agency.