Changing Medigap Plans
There are a multitude of potential Medicare plans and options, each customized based on affordability, healthcare needs, and risk tolerance. Medicare supplement or Medigap plans are one of the most popular options and fill in the gaps that Medicare doesn’t cover.
What if you sign up for one Medigap plan but realize it's not the perfect fit you needed? That could happen for multiple reasons: needing more or fewer benefits, or wanting to find a cheaper policy. The good news is that changing Medigap plans in New Jersey or any other state is easier than you think. Ensure that you receive an acceptance letter to the new supplemental plan before canceling your current coverage.
Is There a Set Enrollment Period for Changing Medigap Plans?
Your first question may be about whether you have to catch a specific window to change your Medigap plan. It's reasonable to wonder; OEPs (open enrollment periods) are a common stopper for taking immediate action on your health coverage if it's an odd time of year.
New Jersey residents can rest easy knowing that during the Medigap OEP (the 6 months starting the month you turn 65 or when your Medicare B coverage begins), you can change plans without having to provide medical underwriting.
However, after this period, your insurance company may ask medical underwriting and review your healthcare file before approving a change in Medigap plans.
There are some other stipulations for this:
- You may have guaranteed-issue rights from your insurance company that allow you to change your plans without too much additional red tape. Consult with your insurance company or a Medicare broker to be sure.
- If you have a pre-existing condition and want to change policies, while your insurance company may approve, you may have to wait up to 6 months for your condition to be covered.
- If you have an older, discontinued Medigap policy that has benefits that the current ones do not, you can keep it, but you can't take it back if you decide to switch.
Can You Switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap?
If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time you have a one year Trial Period. During this timeframe you have the ability to change to a Medicare Supplement policy at any time without underwriting questions asked. You must enroll in a Prescription Drug plan to be disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage plan.
You cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap Plan at the same time.
If you are not in the Medicare Advantage Trial Period you can switch to a Medicare Supplement plan during the Annual Enrollment Period which is from October 15th to December 7th. You will have to go through underwriting for the Medicare Supplement plan and enroll in a Prescription Drug plan for an effective date of January 1st.
Are All Companies Health Questions the Same?
Each Medicare Supplement carrier asks their own underwriting questions to health qualify for their Medicare Supplement policy. The questions asked vary by company and may including height and weight, prescription drugs taken, and health conditions. The timeframe for the health conditions can vary as well with some questions whether you’ve ever had a condition and other questions within the past two years. Each carrier decides which conditions or combination of conditions will result in a decline.
Consult with a Medicare Broker about Changing Medigap Plans
Questions? Concerns? You can speak with a certified Medicare broker to help you sort out your options for changing Medigap plans. Consult with an advisor at New Jersey Medicare Brokers for unbiased, informed information on Medigap plans, Medicare Advantage, and more.