by Russell Noga | Updated July 10th, 2023
For millions of Americans who receive their health insurance coverage through Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance is a real lifesaver.
Also known as Medigap, this insurance helps fill in the gaps that Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) don’t cover, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, and helps to make the cost of health insurance easier to predict and more affordable.
There are 10 different Medicare Supplement plans, which are sold by private health insurance companies and are regulated by the federal government. The plans are named for letters and the benefits they offer (as well as the costs) vary and depend on the specific letter type.
If you’re new to Medicare or you will be enrolling soon and you’re planning on purchasing Medigap insurance to offset the out-of-pocket expenses, or if you already have Medigap, you might be wondering how to change your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.
To ensure you have the coverage you need, in this guide, we cover how to change Medicare Supplement plans, when you can change your plan, and why you might want to change your coverage.
Why You Might Want to Change Medicare Supplement Plans
As mentioned, there are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans. These plans, which are sold by private health insurance companies, are named for letters, and the benefits vary, depending on the specific lettered plan.
Medigap is regulated by the federal government and all lettered plans must offer the same standard benefits; for example, Plan A must offer the same coverage, no matter where it’s purchased and which insurer provides the policy.
That said, there are several reasons why someone might want to change their Medicare Supplement plan. The following are just a few examples:
- Changes in health. If there have been changes in your health since you first purchased your Medigap plan, you might want to change your plan. For example, if have been diagnosed with an illness that requires regular doctor visits and medical care, but the policy you initially purchased offers minimal coverage, you might want to change to a policy that offers more comprehensive coverage.
- Budgetary restraints. If the monthly premiums for your current Medigap plan have become cost-prohibitive, switching to a policy that has lower premiums and is more affordable might be necessary.
- Insurer issues. Medigap plans are sold by private health insurance companies. If you aren’t happy with your current insurance company – they offer poor customer service, for example – you might be interested in changing to a company that offers service that will better meet your needs.
When to Change Your Medicare Supplement Plan
Whatever the reason, if you’re planning on changing your Medicare Supplement plan, it’s important to note that you can do so at any time; however, there are certain times to change your plan that are better than others.
During the Medigap Open Enrollment Period
Just like when you first purchased your current policy, the ideal time to do so is during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period.
During this period, which begins on the first day of the month you turn 65 and lasts for six months, no matter your medical history or the current status of your health, you are guaranteed the right to purchase any Medigap policy that is sold in your state.
As such, if you find that you would like to switch your policy, the ideal time to do so would be during the Open Enrollment period.
If you decide that you would like to switch policies after the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period, you will still be able to; however, it’s important to understand that your application will be subject to medical underwriting.
That is, the insurance company (even if it’s the same insurer your current policy is with) can consider your medical history and the current status of your health when assessing your application.
As such, if you have health-related issues, such as a pre-existing condition, it’s likely your premiums will be higher and there is a chance that your application will be denied.
During the Free Look Period
When you purchased your initial Medicare Supplement plan, you may have been granted a free look period. During this period, you are given 30 days to determine if you want to keep your policy or switch to a new one.
Do note that during this period, you will need to pay the premiums for both plans and at the end of the 30 days, you can decide if which policy you want to keep and which one you want to get rid of.
After Trialing Medicare Advantage
If you originally had Medicare Part A and Part B and a Medigap policy but you decide to switch to Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), if you aren’t satisfied and you decide you want to go back to Original Medicare and Medigap coverage, you will have one year to do so.
How to Change Medicare Supplement Plans
Changing your Medigap plan is a pretty simple and straightforward process. If you do decide that you would like to change plans, first make sure that you do your research and determine which plan and insurer you would like to switch to.
Contact the insurance company you want to switch, and provide them with your personal details, such as your name, Medicare number, and other pertinent information.
After you’ve submitted your application, once it’s been approved, contact your original insurer and let them know that you would like to cancel your coverage.
Be sure you cancel your current plan before your new plan starts; otherwise, you’ll end up with overlapping coverage and will need to pay the premiums for both plans.
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.
Compare Plans & Rates
Enter Zip Code
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I change my Medicare supplement plan at any time?
Yes, you can change your Medicare supplement plan at any time throughout the year. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, which have specific enrollment periods, Medicare supplement plans can be changed at any time.
What is the best time to change Medicare supplement plans?
The best time to change Medicare supplement plans is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This period lasts for six months and begins on the first day of the month when you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this time, you have guaranteed issue rights, meaning insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.
Can I change Medicare supplement plans outside of the Medigap Open Enrollment Period?
Yes, you can change Medicare supplement plans outside of the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. However, if you choose to change plans after your OEP, you may be subject to medical underwriting. This means insurance companies can consider your health status and medical history when determining your eligibility and premium rates.
What steps should I take to change my Medicare supplement plan?
To change your Medicare supplement plan, follow these steps:
a. Research and compare different plans: Look for plans that better suit your healthcare needs and budget.
b. Contact insurance providers: Reach out to the insurance companies that offer the plan you’re interested in.
c. Apply for the new plan: Complete the application process for the new plan, providing any necessary information and documentation.
d. Review your acceptance and cancellation: Once accepted into the new plan, review the terms and conditions and ensure your previous plan is canceled.
Is it necessary to cancel my old Medicare supplement plan before enrolling in a new one?
No, it is not necessary to cancel your old Medicare supplement plan before enrolling in a new one. It’s recommended to wait until you’ve been accepted into the new plan before canceling your old plan to avoid any gaps in coverage.
Will I be able to keep my existing coverage if I change Medicare supplement plans?
If you decide to change Medicare supplement plans, you will lose your existing coverage and transition to the new plan. It’s essential to understand the benefits and coverage of the new plan before making the switch.
Can I switch to a different insurance company when changing Medicare supplement plans?
Yes, you can switch to a different insurance company when changing Medicare supplement plans. You are not required to stay with the same insurance company. However, it’s important to research and compare the reputation, customer service, and pricing of different insurance providers.
Do I need to reapply for Medicare when changing Medicare supplement plans?
No, you do not need to reapply for Medicare when changing Medicare supplement plans. Your Medicare coverage remains the same, and you only need to focus on changing your supplement plan.
What happens if I am denied coverage when trying to change Medicare supplement plans?
If you are denied coverage when trying to change Medicare supplement plans outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you may have limited options. However, some states have additional guaranteed issue rights or special enrollment periods that allow you to change plans without medical underwriting.
Should I consult with a licensed insurance agent when changing Medicare supplement plans?
Consulting with a licensed insurance agent can be beneficial when changing Medicare supplement plans. We can help you navigate the options, explain the coverage details, and guide you through the application process. Their expertise can ensure you make an informed decision when changing plans. Call us today for help!
Find the Right Medicare Plan for You
Discovering the best Medicare plan doesn’t have to be confusing. Whether it’s a Medigap plan, or you have questions about Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D, we can help.
Call us today at 1-888-891-0229 and one of our knowledgeable, licensed insurance agents will be happy to assist you!
Russell Noga is the CEO and Medicare editor of Medisupps.com. His 15 years of experience in the Medicare insurance market includes being a licensed Medicare insurance broker in all 50 states. He is frequently featured as a featured as a keynote Medicare event speaker, has authored hundreds of Medicare content pages, and hosts the very popular Medisupps.com Medicare Youtube channel. His expertise includes Medicare, Medigap insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Part D.