What You Need to Know Before You Change Your Medigap Plan

You can change your Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan anytime, but there are a few things you should know before you do so.

You can enroll in a Medigap plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. If you apply for or change Medigap plans outside of your Medigap OEP, you may have to go through medical underwriting unless you qualify for a Medicare guaranteed issue right, depending on what state you live in.

Learn more about guaranteed issue rights and your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, and find out what you need to know before you change your Medigap plan.

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Can I change Medigap plans during open enrollment?

One of the best times to enroll in a Medigap plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is a six-month period that starts when you are at least 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

This is not to be confused with the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.

  • During the Medicare AEP, you can enroll in, change, or drop your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or your Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan.

AEP does not apply specifically to Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.

Learn more about the different Medicare enrollment periods and how they can affect your coverage.

What is the six month Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

During your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you can sign up for or change Medigap plans without going through medical underwriting. This means that insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you more for a policy based on your health or pre-existing conditions.

If your Medigap Open Enrollment Period has passed, you may still be able to apply for or change your Medigap plan without medical underwriting if you qualify for a Medigap guaranteed issue right.

What is a guaranteed issue right?

There are certain situations in which you can change Medigap plans or purchase a new Medigap plan without being subject to medical underwriting. These situations are called guaranteed issue rights.

You may qualify for a Medigap guaranteed issue right any time of year if you fit one of the following descriptions:

  • You currently have a Medicare Advantage plan that is leaving Medicare or ending coverage in your area.

  • You have a Medicare Advantage plan, and you are moving out of the plan's service area.

  • You have Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare), and you need to replace an employer health plan that will soon be discontinued.

  • You have Original Medicare and a Medicare SELECT policy, and you move out of the policy's service area.

  • You joined a Medicare Advantage plan or a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A at 65, and within the first year of joining you want to switch to Original Medicare.

  • You dropped a Medigap policy to join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, and within the first year of joining you want to switch back to Medigap.

  • Your Medigap insurance company goes bankrupt or ends your policy through no fault of your own.

  • You leave a Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap policy because the company misled you or did not follow federal Medicare rules.

Visit MedicareSupplement.com to find out if you qualify for a guaranteed issue right and compare Medigap plans in your area.

Switching Plans Outside of Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period Without a Guaranteed Issue Right

If you don’t qualify for a guaranteed issue right and want to switch your Medigap plan outside of your initial Medigap Open Enrollment Period, your application may include medical underwriting.

If you have pre-existing conditions or health conditions that have developed after you purchased your current Medigap policy, your new plan could have higher premiums than your current plan. Or the insurance carrier who sells the new plan you want could deny you coverage.

Consult with a licensed insurance agent to discuss your options.

What is a Medicare Supplement free look period?

When you switch from one Medigap plan to another, you may be given 30 days to decide if you wish to keep your new plan. This is called a Medigap free look period.

If you change Medigap plans, don’t cancel your original Medigap plan until you’ve decided to keep your new plan. You’ll have to pay the premiums for both plans for one month, but if you want to change back to your original Medigap plan, you will still be able to do so.

How can I switch do a different Medigap policy?

Changing Medigap plans can be simple with the help of a licensed insurance agent.

  • You can call MedicareSupplement.com and request to speak to a licensed agent. If you know which Medigap plan you want, the agent can guide you through the application process. If you are unsure about which Medigap plan you want, an agent can help you review the available options in your area.

  • If you’re accepted into a new Medigap plan and wish to keep it (and if you’re currently enrolled in a different Medigap plan), contact the company who issued your original Medigap plan and cancel it in writing. Your insurance company cannot cancel the plan for you. Again, a licensed insurance agent can help you with this.

Remember that if you move to another state, you are allowed to keep your existing Medigap policy, even if that plan is not sold in your new state. However, your new state may offer a different selection of Medigap plans with costs that may be more beneficial to you.

If you move, contact a licensed insurance agent to learn about the plan options available in your new location.

Find a Medigap plans in your area

Visit MedicareSupplement.com

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Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.

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MedicareSupplement.com is owned and operated by TZ Insurance Solutions LLC. It serves as an invitation for you, the customer, to inquire about further information regarding Medicare Supplement Insurance. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC and the licensed insurance agents who may call you are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information contained on MedicareSupplement.com.