Plenty of reasons can come up for you to want to switch your Medicare supplement plan. There might be other plans available that are more affordable to you, you might want to sink your premium rate costs, or the plan you are now in might not be covering everything that you wanted. Even if you feel satisfied with the Medicare supplement plan you are now enrolled to, it is recommended to review your plan once a year and compare to others, to see whether you are still on the best one available for you!
When can you change your supplement plan?
There is a time, each year, in which you can freely review the Medicare supplement plan you are currently on and during this time, you can change it if you wish to. Not everything can be switched, but in general, during this so-called open enrollment time, you can make the following changes:
- Switch from Medicare Part A & B to a Medicare Part C
- If you´re on Medicare Advantage you can switch back to Medicare original
- Medicare original Part D can be switched, joined to or dropped, if you are already on this plan
- Switching between Medicare Advantage plans
Switching from a Medicare advantage plan to a Medicare supplement plan can also be done, however, you might be a subject to medical underwriting. This means, that while you will be able to take on a supplement plan, the premium rates will be based on your health condition, which in some cases can lead to higher premium rates than your prior Medicare advantage plan.
Switching between Medicare supplement plans can turn out to be more difficult to you. Federal law allows to switch between these plans only in limited cases. These cases would be: being eligible under specific circumstances, guaranteed issue rights (also granted in limited cases) and during your 6-month open enrollment period. The 6-month open enrollment period starts on the day you turn 65.
Apart from the open enrollment period, guaranteed issue rights also allow for an uncomplicated switch between different Medicare supplement plans. You are probably wondering, what these guaranteed-issue rights are. They basically prevent the health insurance company from denying you enrollment to your desired plan. Reasons for getting the guaranteed-issue rights, are:
- When the insurance company no longer is present in the area you live in
- When you have moved out of the area where the insurance company is present
- When you are covered by your employer and this coverage is ending
- When your plan is being discontinued and no longer available on Medicare
- When you lose the benefits of your plan because the insurance company goes bankrupt
- When you end the coverage because the insurance company was not complying with the law and has misled you
Surely, specific situations might come across, which might grant you these rights and are not stated above, as each case can and usually does differ from the other.