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.
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.
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This is not to be confused with the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
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.
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.
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:
Visit MedicareSupplement.com to find out if you qualify for a guaranteed issue right and compare Medigap plans in your area.
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.
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.
Changing Medigap plans can be simple with the help of a licensed insurance agent.
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.
Speak with a licensed insurance agent
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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