Underwriting is the process assessing risk of issuing insurance. Undewriters evaluate applications,
Are you among the thousands of seniors who have a Medicare Supplement plan? If so, you may face rate increases at some point, and consider changing to a more affordable plan. However, if you’re happy with your current plan, you should typically stay with your plan. You can stay with a plan as long as the coverage and insurance company continue to meet your needs.
For example, some people decide to switch plans because:
- They are paying for benefits they don’t need,
- They’re in need of a more comprehensive plan, potentially one that additional benefits,
- They are not satisfied with the company they purchased their supplement from, or
- They want to find a more affordable policy.
When can I switch my Medigap Plan?
Because of federal law, all people searching for a Medicare Supplement plan have a guaranteed shopping period called your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. During this time, an insurance company can’t decline coverage because of a pre-existing health condition. This period starts six months before your 65th birthday and/or your Part B start date. This is the best time to purchase your Medicare Supplement plan, as you’ll typically get the best coverage for the lowest cost.
During this period, you can switch to any plan that you’d like, without consequence. This is ideal if you’re trying to find the perfect fit for your needs. Additionally, you won’t have to undergo medical underwriting during this time, making these plans more accessible to you.
How Do I Switch Medigap Plans After Open Enrollment Period?
Unfortunately, after your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies can refuse to sell you a Medigap policy, delay coverage, or charge you a higher premium because of an existing health condition. In addition, the insurance company might also ask you to go through a medical underwriting process. If they find anything they consider concerning, they could deny you coverage, or charge you a higher rate for your coverage.
Don’t let this discourage you. We understand that this might deter you from searching for other plans, but this does not mean that you can’t switch plans. It might just simply require additional effort, and in turn, will come at a higher risk.
What if I Switch and I Don’t Like My New Medigap Policy?
It’s possible that you might not like your new Medicare Supplement policy. You might take issue with your new provider, or you might not like the additional benefits that they offer. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re not stuck. 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 Medigap 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 unless you feel like that’s needed for your best coverage.
However, if you move states and want to switch to a different policy, you’ll have to check with your insurance company to see if they will offer you a different Medigap policy in your new area. In some cases, you may have to pay more for your new Medigap policy. Additionally, you might have to answer some medical underwriting questions if you are buying a policy outside of your Medigap open enrollment period.
Is it Smart to Switch?
Ultimately, it is up to you if you’d like to switch plans. If you’re ready, or even if you’re not, we’re here to help walk you through the process, discuss the benefits of switching, or decide with you if it’s best to stay in your current plan. We don’t want to move you to a plan that’s not right for you; we just want to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your needs.
Ready to talk about switching? Give one of our Medicare experts a call at (866) 894-3258.