Medicare 101

Can I change my Medicare Supplement insurance plan?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published July 14, 2020 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

You can change your Medicare Supplement insurance plan any time of the year.

You may want to consider changing your plan or insurance company to increase your benefits or lower your monthly costs.

Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) doesn't have a strict annual enrollment period so you are free to change your plan any time you want. But if you do consider changing plans, you should try to switch during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

What is the Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is a 6-month period that starts the day you are both 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

During the 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you do not have to undergo medical underwriting and you can change insurance plans or companies without getting penalized.

What if I don't change plans during my Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

If you don't change Medicare Supplement insurance plans during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, your insurer can force you to undergo medical underwriting and could charge higher premiums or refuse to insure you based on your past or current health problems.

The exact medical underwriting standards will vary based on the insurance company. Some insurers will accept high-risk enrollees and charge higher premiums. Others will deny coverage outright.

How do I avoid medical underwriting?

The main way to avoid medical underwriting is if you have a Medicare Supplement insurance guaranteed-issue right.

Some guaranteed-issue rights occur when:

  • Your Medigap insurance company goes bankrupt or ends your policy through no fault of your own
  • Your Medigap insurance company committed fraud and you are canceling your policy
  • You leave your current Medigap insurer because the company misled you

If any of the above situations apply to you, you can switch Medigap plans without medical underwriting. You must apply no later than 63 calendars days after the previous health coverage ends.

Please note that there are other situations when you may qualify for a guaranteed-issue right. Find out if you qualify for a guaranteed-issue right today. 

If your enrollment period is over and you don't qualify for a guaranteed-issue right, you can still make changes, but it could cost you.

Can I switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap? 

In a few special circumstances, you can drop your Medicare Advantage plan and sign up for a Medigap policy with a guaranteed-issue right.

You have 12 months after you first sign up for Medicare Advantage to drop your plan and switch back to Original Medicare, but only if you signed up for Medicare Advantage when you were first eligible. During this 12-month period you can also sign up for a Medigap policy with guaranteed-issue rights.

You can also switch back to Original Medicare with guaranteed-issue rights to buy Medigap when you move to an area outside of your Medicare Advantage plan's network.

Keep in mind that if you had a Medigap plan and switched to a Medicare Advantage plan, you may not be able to get the same Medigap policy again if choose to switch to Original Medicare.

If you want to discuss the above article with a licensed agent and see if you can switch plans today without medical underwriting, simply fill out our contact form here

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