One benefit of Medicare Supplement plans is that you may have more flexibility to change your plan, but there are some things to keep in mind.
What Is A Medicare Supplement?
Medicare Supplement plans are also referred to as Medigap plans, and as the name suggests, they often supplement the coverage provided by Original Medicare (Parts A and B). These plans cover some out-of-pocket costs not paid by Original Medicare, such as copayments or coinsurance. Every standardized Medicare Supplement plan with the same lettered name has the same basic benefits regardless of where you buy the plan. So, for example, every Medicare Supplement Plan G includes the same basic benefits. Suppose you have Medicare Supplement Plan G (or any letter), and you see a plan of the same name being sold by a different insurance company. In that case, the basic benefits will be the same.
Reasons For A Change
- You prefer to purchase your plan from a different company.
- You found a Medicare Supplement plan for a lower cost. This could be the same plan from another company or a different plan from the same company.
- You need more coverage, and you’d like to switch to a plan with more benefits.
- You don’t need all the benefits that your Medicare Supplement plan offers, and you’d like to switch to a plan with fewer benefits to save money.
Medigap policies generally don’t cover:
- Long-term care (like non-skilled care you get in a nursing home)
- Vision or dental services
- Hearing aids
- Private-duty nursing
Are Medicare Supplement Plans guaranteed issue?
Sometimes. When you first enroll in Original Medicare – whether that is right when you turn 65 or later in life after your other creditable coverage ends – you have guaranteed rights to a Medigap plan. Guaranteed issue means that no insurance company can deny you coverage, no matter what health conditions you have. There is a short window of time for this.
There are other instances when you may qualify for guaranteed issues, but these vary by state. Tell Senior Benefit Solutions which state you reside in and we’ll be able to tell you what rights you have to a Medigap plan.
When Changes Are Allowed
If you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you can apply for a new Medicare Supplement or to change your supplement plan at any time. You may be charged a higher premium or denied coverage based on your medical history unless you have guaranteed issue rights. Guaranteed issue rights mean you can’t be turned down, and they apply when the following conditions are true:
- You’re enrolled in Original Medicare
- You’re in your Medigap Open Enrollment Period
- You have guaranteed issue rights after your OEP because:
- You signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time but decided to drop the plan and enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan instead.
- You have a Medicare Select plan, and you’re moving out of the plan’s service area. This is generally the only Medicare Supplement plan that has a provider network.
- You’ve had your current Medicare Supplement insurance plan for less than six months.
The Free Look Period
Another unique feature of Medicare Supplement plans is using the “free look” period. You can only be enrolled in one Medicare Supplement plan at a time, with one exception. If you decide to change from one supplement plan to another, you have the option of trying out the new plan for 30 days before you disenroll from your old plan. You are still responsible for premiums for both plans during this time, so it’s not truly free, but if you decide you’d instead stick with your old plan, you can do so during the 30-day window.
At Senior Benefit Solutions we specialize in Medicare. Represent all major companies and organizations that serve the senior market. Our brokers average over 15 years of experience. They are focused on educating first so you can make an informed decision on your healthcare.
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