Underwriting is the process assessing risk of issuing insurance. Undewriters evaluate applications,
Making changes to your health coverage can be confusing, especially when it comes to Medicare. We will review the typical Medicare Supplement application process first, so that you know what to expect. After, we’ll take a look at 3 common circumstances in which you may want to pick up or make changes to your Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare Supplement Application Process
- Select Your Coverage: Your agent will help you understand your options and choose the carrier and plan letter that will work best for you.
- Complete Your Application: You will complete your application over the phone with your agent. Depending on the guidelines of the carrier that you select, you will sign your application in one of three ways: over the phone as a voice signature, online as an e-signature, or on a paper application.
- Answer Medical Questions: This step may not apply to you. Depending on your situation you may need to undergo a process called medical underwriting. Medical underwriting is how carriers determine who they accept. You do not need to have a physical examination. Instead, the insurance company will review your medical records and medications. They will call you and ask you some medical questions, but your agent will prepare you for what to expect.
- Receive Approval Confirmation: You will receive your approval phone call, stating that the carrier has accepted you. Once you have this verification, you can call your current provider and let them know that you will be discontinuing their coverage as of your new policy’s effective date.
How to Add A Medigap Plan When You Are Leaving Group Coverage
Once you have decided the date that you would like your Medicare and Medigap coverage to begin, your process is fairly straightforward. When you take your Part B of Medicare, it triggers your Open Enrollment period. During this time, you can choose any plan from any provider with no health questions. This means that you do not need to complete the underwriting process. While you can only sign up for your Part B 3 months ahead of time, many carriers will allow you to sign up for your Medigap plan up to 6 months before the intended start date. Not only does this let you cross a task off your retirement list, but in many cases, you can save money by locking in a lower rate for the first year of your policy.
How to Make Changes to Your Existing Medigap Plan
You can make changes to your Medicare Supplement plan or carrier any time of the year. Most people will need to follow the typical application process. Depending on your state, you may not need to undergo medical underwriting. Your agent will let you know if it is necessary, and will prepare you for the questions. On average, you can expect to hear if the carrier has approved you in 1 to 2 weeks.
You Would Like to Change from an Advantage Plan to a Medigap Plan
Most people looking to make changes to their Advantage Plan will need to do so during the Annual Election Period, which is October 15th- December 7th. There are two common exceptions, however. If you are moving, and your current Advantage Plan does not offer coverage in your area, or if you joined an Advantage Plan at age 65 and are within 2 years of your start date. In these situations, you may be eligible to make changes outside of the Annual Election Period. Both of these scenarios are examples of guaranteed issue rights, so you may not need to answer medical questions when you are completing the application process.
With the exception of a few states, anyone that applies for a Medicare Supplement plan during the Annual Election Period will need to follow the full application process. Carriers are very busy this time of year, so the response time can take over 4 weeks. You need to have your approval confirmation before December 7th, so we recommend applying as close to the October start date as you can.
We Can Help
We know that changing health coverage can be stressful. We’re here to help you with this. Speak to one of our experts today at (866)894-3258.