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  • Writer's pictureTroy Baccus

Switching Medigap Policies

Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, one of the nice things about enrolling in a Medigap policy is that you don't need to review your plan each year to make sure your coverage isn't changing. That said, an increase in your carrier's premium might mean you can save money by switching Medigap policies. Let's look at some of your options.

Switching Medigap Policies: Underwriting

With prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans, you're usually only able to switch during the Annual Election Period. You can switch Medigap policies, however, at any time.

The catch? Unless an exception applies (we'll look into some of them below), you'll need to pass underwriting. The good news is that Medigap underwriting is relatively painless. There's no need to have an medical exam. Instead, you'll just need to answer a few medical questions on your application and might need to answer a few questions over the phone.

Switching Medigap plans with underwriting is by far the most common means of switching plans. An independent Medicare agent can help guide you to the carriers with the most lenient underwriting, if needed.

Switching Medigap Policies: Guaranteed Issue

In certain situations, you'll earn guaranteed issue rights. Guaranteed issue rights allow you to enroll in a Medigap plan with no underwriting. For the most part, guaranteed issue rights won't come up when switching between Medigap policies. It's much more common when leaving a Medicare Advantage plan. That said, there are a few unique situations where you can switch Medigap plans using guaranteed issue rights. You'll want to speak with an agent to dive into the nuances, but as a general rule, if your Medigap policy is being cancelled through no fault of your own, you'll have guaranteed issues rights.

Switching Medigap Policies: Medicare Birthday Rule

Residents of California and Oregon can take advantage of the Medicare Birthday Rule. These states allow their residents to switch Medigap plans every year during a 30 day window around their birthday with no underwriting. One caveat: you can only switch between plans offering equal or less coverage. In other words, if you have Plan G, you can switch to another Plan G, but you cannot switch to Plan F. When Plan F ends for new enrollees in 2020 and premiums increase, the birthday rule will be a great opportunity for California and Oregon residents to switch to Plan G to ensure they aren't overpaying for their supplement insurance.

Switching Medigap Policies: Anniversary Rule

Missouri has a unique rule allowing residents to switch Medigap plans each year with no underwriting. The anniversary rule period is a 60 day window based on the effective date of their Medigap policy.

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