by Russell Noga | Updated May 8th, 2023
Can Your Medicare Supplement Not be Renewed?
If you’re a beneficiary of Original Medicare and have a Medigap policy, what happens if you develop a chronic medical condition? Is your Medicare Supplement plan guaranteed to renew? Or will your healthcare provider decide to kick you off their plan and cancel your policy?
No. The insurer can’t end your policy for any reason other than if you fail to pay your monthly premiums. Medicare Supplement Plans are guaranteed renewable each month, they are not annual policies.
And even if you develop a chronic health condition, the insurer must continue to pay your health claims provided you continue to pay your premium each month.
What are the Benefits & Coverage with Medicare Supplement Plans?
Medicare supplement plans, known as “Medigap” policies, come with standardized benefits. The coverage extends to all Original Medicare Parts A & B for your hospitalization and medical out-of-pocket costs.
The Federal government regulates the Medigap industry, ensuring all Medigap providers offer the same standardized benefits across all ten Medigap plans. That means the benefits are consistent between providers for all Medigap policies.
All Medigap plans offer the following benefits.
- Part A coinsurance and hospital costs for up to 365 days after using up Medicare benefits.
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment.
- Part B coinsurance or copayment.
- Blood transfusion costs for the first three pints of blood.
Plans F, G, and N offer additional Medicare Parts A & B benefits.
- Part A deductible.
- Part B excess charges (Plan N doesn’t cover these charges).
- Skilled nursing facility care coinsurance.
- 80% of emergency healthcare costs when traveling outside the US for 60 days. ($250 deductible and $50,000 maximum apply).
- Unlimited coverage for all out-of-pocket costs.
The plan you choose depends on your healthcare requirements. For instance, if you have a chronic health condition, you’re best off going with Plan G or F.
Plan F is only available to seniors eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020. Plan G is the next best option if you’re eligible after this cut-off date. The difference between Plans F & G is that Plan F covers the Part B deductible of $226 (2023). However, your savings on your annual premiums with Plan G over Plan F usually account for the Part B deductible.
Healthy seniors that don’t incur many medical expenses during the year but who want complete coverage in the event of a medical emergency can go with Plan N. These three plans are the most popular policies in the Medigap range.
We can easily look at your current situation and do a Medicare Supplement Plans comparison for 2024 to help you decide which plan fits your needs the best.
Medicare Supplement Plans Guaranteed Renewable
When you sign up for a Medigap plan with any insurer, the provider must offer the policy with a “guarantee renewable” clause. That means they can only cease your policy coverage if you stop paying your premiums.
However, if you lie to your insurer when signing up or make false claims on your application, the insurer can cancel your policy. If you’re signing up during the “Open Enrollment” period in the first six months after your 65th birthday, you have “guaranteed issue rights.”
That means the insurer can’t refuse your application, even if you have a pre-existing health condition. So, be honest about your existing health issues on your application.
Does Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage Renew Automatically?
Yes. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage comes with automatic renewable rights.
You don’t need to re-enroll or notify the insurer that you wish to stay on Part D. The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period lasts from October 15 to December 7 every year.
If you want to change your Medigap plan or Part D coverage, speak to us, and we’ll make it happen.
When Can I Enroll in a Medigap Plan?
As mentioned, the Open Enrollment period for Medigap policies is during six months after your 65th birthday. To qualify for Medigap, you must enroll in Original Medicare Parts A & B. The guaranteed issue rights afforded to you during the Open Enrollment period don’t last.
If you enroll in Medigap after these rights expire, the insurer has the right to ask you to undergo medical underwriting. This process asks you about your health status and if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
If you do have health issues, the provider may ask you to undergo a waiting period before coverage of pre-existing conditions starts (usually three to six months). Or they can charge higher than average premiums for your plan to compensate for their risk. In the worst-case scenario, the insurer might reject your application altogether.
There are other instances where guaranteed issue rights apply. For example, if you leave your employer’s healthcare plan, if you move states, or if your provider leaves the state or goes bankrupt. Call our team if you’re applying for a Medigap plan outside of the Open Enrollment period. We’ll explain your guaranteed issue rights and determine if you qualify.
Can I Change My Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan?
Yes. You can change your Medigap plan at any time during the calendar year. You might decide your existing plan has too much or too little coverage or want a cheaper monthly premium from a different insurer. Making the change to a different plan can help you get what you want out of your Medigap policy.
However, sometimes of the year are better to make the switch than others. When you take a Medigap policy, you have a 30-day “free look” period where you can change plans without repercussions. However, suppose you don’t have any guaranteed issue rights or special issue rights for changing plans.
In that case, the insurer will ask you to undergo medical underwriting and you’ll have to get approved for the new policy. We can help find a company that fits your needs best.
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Question: What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: A Medicare Supplement Plan, also known as Medigap, is a type of health insurance that’s designed to cover costs not covered by Original Medicare, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. It provides an additional layer of financial security for individuals who may require more extensive medical services.
Question: How do I enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: To enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, you must first be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You can then apply for a Medigap plan through a private insurance company. The best time to enroll is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which begins on the first day of the month you’re both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B, and lasts for six months.
Question: When is the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: The ideal time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. During this six-month period, you have a guaranteed issue right, meaning insurance companies can’t refuse to sell you any Medigap policy they offer, charge you more because of health problems, or make you wait for coverage to start.
Question: Can I switch my Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: Yes, you can switch your Medicare Supplement Plan at any time. However, if you decide to change after your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies can use medical underwriting, potentially deny coverage or charge you more based on your health status.
Question: What is the Best Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: There isn’t one best plan for everyone, as we all have different needs and budgets. The most popular Medicare Supplement Plans are Medicare Plan F, Plan G, and Medicare Supplement Plan N. These plans offer the most coverage for relatively low premiums.
Despite there being more plans available, you’ll often pay more for those Plan letter policies and get less coverage than Plans F, G, or N.
Question: How do I switch my Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: To switch your Medicare Supplement Plan, you should first find a new policy that fits your needs. Once you’ve applied and been accepted, you can then cancel your original policy. It’s recommended to not cancel your current policy until the new one is in place to avoid gaps in coverage. We can help find you the right plan, just give us a call today.
Question: How do I renew my Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: Medicare Supplement Plans typically renew automatically each month as long as you pay your premium. However, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider to confirm the renewal terms of your plan.
Question: Do Medicare Supplement Plans cover prescription drugs?
Answer: As of 2006, Medicare Supplement Plans sold to new enrollees do not cover prescription drugs. If you require prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan separately.
Question: What factors should I consider when choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Answer: When choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan, consider factors such as the level of coverage provided, the monthly premium cost, out-of-pocket costs, the insurance company’s reputation, and any additional benefits provided.
Question: What services are generally not covered by Medicare Supplement Plans?
Answer: Medicare Supplement Plans generally do not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.
Question: Can I have a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement Plan simultaneously?
Answer: No, you can’t have a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement Plan at the same time. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, it’s illegal for anyone to sell you a Medigap policy unless you’re switching back to Original Medicare.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation on Medigap Plans
If you have questions about Medicare supplement plans, call our team at 1-888-891-0229. We offer professional advice on Medigap policies.
Our fully licensed agents offer free consultations to give you all the information you need about Medigap. If you want someone to call you back, leave your details on our contact form, and we’ll get a Medigap expert to reach out to you.
Russell Noga is the CEO of Medisupps.com, an online Medicare Agency and resource center helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medigap and Part D drug plans, and Medicare Advantage plans since 2009. Russell is licensed in all 50 states and has been featured as a keynote speaker, and author of several publications, along with hosting the very popular Medisupps.com Youtube channel.