When Can You Switch Medicare Supplement Plans?

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Russell Noga
by Russell Noga | Updated April 19th, 2024

When Can You Switch Medicare Supplement Plans?Medigap policies are a lifesaver when you need them. They provide coverage to fill the gaps in Original Medicare Parts A & B.

However, many people sign up for Medigap plans without fully understanding the coverage and benefits they offer. As a result, many Americans find they’re over or under-insured for their annual healthcare costs.

The good news is you can change Medigap plans to adjust your level of coverage or move insurance companies if you’re not happy with their service.

When can you switch Medicare supplement plans? What are the fees involved with doing so, and will it impact your coverage in any way?


When Can You Switch Medigap Plans?

Open EnrollmentFederal law mandates you a guaranteed right to purchase a Medigap plan of your choosing during the “Open Enrollment” period. Open enrollment starts on the day of your 65th birthday and extends for six months from this date.

During this period, the insurer you apply with cannot deny your application, even if you have a pre-existing health condition. They also can’t charge you more in premiums because of your health status.

After the open enrollment period ends, the insurer can require you to undergo medical underwriting to assess your health.

If you have a pre-existing condition, they can charge you a higher premium than average to compensate for the risk of insuring you, or they might decide to deny your application. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In some instances, you have the guaranteed-issue right to buy a Medigap policy if you meet any of the following requirements.

  • You’re a member of Medicare Advantage, and your insurer leaves your service area.
  • Your insurer discontinues your Medicare Advantage plan or your leave MA.
  • You move out of the service area covered by your MA insurer.
  • You have an employee Medicare policy, and your employer is ending their program.
  • You have Original Medicare and Medicare SELECT and move out of the area serviced by the Medicare SELECT plan.
  • The insurer goes bankrupt, and you lose your Medigap cover.
  • You end your Medigap coverage because the insurer misled you or wasn’t legally compliant.

You might also qualify for a “trial right” to buy a Medigap policy if you’re a Medicare Advantage member. This period lasts a year, and you can cancel your policy anytime and switch to Medigap without undergoing medical underwriting.

This trial period also applies to members of Medigap SELECT for the first year after enrolling.

So, shopping around for the right insurer offering you the best premiums is important. Our team can assist you with finding the best rates in your state.

You can switch Medigap plans at any time of the year. However, it’s best to wait until the open enrollment period, which runs annually from October 15 to December 7, each year after joining the program. You won’t have to undergo medical underwriting to make the change during this period.

Medical UnderwritingIf you switch plans outside this period, the insurer may ask you to undergo a medical underwriting. If you have Medigap Plan A, you can change to any other plan at any time of the year, and you won’t have to undergo the medical underwriting process.

After signing up for Medicare, you have a “Free Look Period” lasting 30 days from your enrollment. During this period, you can change plans without undergoing medical underwriting.

41 states have expanded guaranteed issue rights. These expanded rights give policyholders greater flexibility and states’ regulations vary.

The rules in your state may allow you to switch between Medigap plans to change your coverage or between insurers to get a better rate on your monthly premium.

12 states have annual or “continuous” guaranteed issue rights.

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington


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Do You Have to Wait for Coverage After Changing Your Medigap Plan?Do You Have to Wait for Coverage After Changing Your Medigap Plan?

Some insurers in some states require you to adhere to a six-month waiting period to claim any benefits when switching plans or insurance companies. If you change plans or insurers outside the open enrollment period and have a pre-existing health condition, the insurer can institute this six-month waiting period.

This waiting period doesn’t apply to all insurers. However, it may apply to you if you switch plans and the new plan offers additional benefits. The insurer may require you to endure the waiting period before they activate the benefits under your new plan.


Do I Have to Change My Medigap Plan If It’s Discontinued?

No. You don’t have to change your Medigap plan if your insurer discontinues it. Plan F is an example of this., Plan F was discontinued for new Medicare enrollees eligible for Medicare and Medigap after January 1, 2020.

If you have Plan F, you can keep it without any limitations on the cover or additional increases in premiums outside the normal annual increase.

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Can I Change My Decision about Switching My Medigap Plan?

You can Keep Your Old Medigap Plan for 30 DaysYou can keep your old Medigap plan for 30 days after enrolling in the new plan and switch back to the old plan at any time. If you’re happy with the new plan, cancel your old one after 30 days and continue with the new one.

If you decide to go this route, the insurer will require you to cancel your old Medigap plan when filling out the application for the new one. However, the 30-day “Free Look” period applies in this case, and

You must promise to cancel the old Medigap plan when filling out the application for the new plan. However, you’re allowed a 30-day “free-look” period if you change your mind.

The free look period starts when you cancel your old policy and move to the new one. However, there’s a catch – you’ll have to pay the premium for both policies during this period.


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Frequently Asked Questions


  Can you switch Medicare Supplement plans at any time during the year?

While you can generally switch Medicare Supplement plans at any time, the ideal period is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period to ensure guaranteed acceptance.


  When does the Medigap Open Enrollment Period occur?

The Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts when you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B, lasting for 6 months. During this window, you have guaranteed acceptance into any Medigap plan.


  What if you miss the Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

If you miss the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurers may assess your health history, potentially leading to higher premiums or denial of coverage when you switch plans.


  Is switching Medicare Supplement plans possible with pre-existing conditions?

During the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums due to pre-existing conditions. Outside this period, your health status might affect the switch.


  Are there exceptions allowing plan switches without medical underwriting?

Yes, you can change plans without medical underwriting if your current plan ceases operations or you move out of its service area.


  Can you change from one Medicare Supplement plan to another within the same insurance company?

Yes, you can switch to a different Medigap plan within the same insurer. However, if it’s outside the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, underwriting might be necessary.


  How frequently can you change your Medicare Supplement plan?

While there’s no set limit on plan changes, it’s advisable to review and potentially switch plans during the annual Open Enrollment Period.


  Is it possible to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement plan?

Yes, transitioning from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement plan is possible. Ensure you disenroll from the Advantage plan before your new Medigap coverage begins.


  Can you revert to your previous Medicare Supplement plan after switching?

Returning to your previous Medicare Supplement plan can be challenging, especially if your health status changes. Thoroughly assess your options before making a switch.


  How can you effectively compare different Medicare Supplement plans when considering a switch?

Utilize online resources, connect with your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), or consult a licensed insurance agent to compare plan costs, benefits, and coverage options before making a switch.

Get Expert Advice on Switching Medigap Plans

Call our fully licensed agents for expert advice if you’re considering switching your Medigap plan.

We’re available to you at 1-888-891-0229 for a free consultation.

Our team can give you information on the best plan to suit your healthcare requirements and quotes from the lowest-cost insurers in your state. If you can’t call right now, fill out the contact form, and we’ll have an expert contact you to discuss changing your Medigap policy.

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