- August 20, 2020
Today’s topic is all about switching Supplemental plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). We show you when to switch Supplemental plans, plus outline the four different options you have when you’re on a Supplemental plan. Let’s get started.
Satisfied with Your Plan? ----> Nothing Required
If you’re happy with your current Supplemental plan, you don’t have to take any action during the AEP. Supplemental plans are written for life, so as long as you pay your premiums every month, your plan will renew each year without requiring any action on your part. In fact, even if you move to another area, you get to take your Supplemental plan with you. The only thing that can cancel your Supplemental plan is if you fail to pay the premiums.
However, if you’re unhappy with your Supplemental plan and want to make a change, here’s how the process works.
Switch Anytime -----> Underwriting Required
You can switch to a new Supplemental plan any time you want. Unlike Advantage and drug plans, you do not have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period between October 15th and December 7th. Instead, you can switch to a new Supplemental plan any month of the year you’d like.
One thing to keep in mind is that no matter what time of year you decide to switch Supplemental plans, you will have to go through medical underwriting. Why? When you first started Medicare, you have an open enrollment period for a Medigap policy. The Medigap policy open enrollment period starts when you enroll in Medicare Part B and it lasts for six months. During those first six months, you can enroll in any Supplemental plan you want, no medical underwriting required. But after those six months are up, you’ll have to medically qualify if you want to enroll in a new Supplemental plan.
Medical underwriting typically involves a series of 25 health questions, medication checks, pre-existing condition disclosure, and a health statement from your doctor. If you don’t medically qualify, the Supplemental company can deny you coverage.
There are a few exceptions to the medical underwriting rule. About seven states throughout the U.S. use the anniversary or birth rule. This rule allows you to switch to a new Supplemental plan 30 days before and 30 days after your birthday each year, no medical underwriting required. Again, only a few states allow this exception.
Switch to Advantage Plan ----> October 15th to December 7th
If you don’t like your current Supplemental plan, the other option you have is to switch to an Advantage plan. The only time you can make this switch is during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) between October 15th and December 7th. Keep in mind, when you switch to an Advantage plan during the AEP, the new plan will not go into effect until January 1st. So even though you’ll keep your Supplemental plan until the end of the year, you have to enroll during the AEP.
You do not have to go through medical underwriting to switch from a Supplemental to an Advantage plan. The only reason you wouldn’t be allowed to switch from a Supplemental to an Advantage plan is if you have end-stage renal disease (kidney failure). Otherwise, you are free to get an Advantage plan.
Switch Back -----> Underwriting Required
Now let's suppose you made the switch from a Supplemental plan to an Advantage plan, then later down the road you decide you want to switch back to a Supplemental plan. If you’re still within the first year of having an Advantage plan, you can make the switch back to a Supplemental plan without having to go through medical underwriting. If you’re past the 12-month mark, then you’ll have to go through underwriting.
If you’re happy with your current Supplemental plan, you don’t have to take any further action. Your plan will automatically renew each year. If you’re unhappy with your plan and want to switch to a new Supplemental policy, you can do so any time of the year, but you will have to go through medical underwriting. If you want to switch from a Supplemental plan to an Advantage plan, you can only make that switch during the AEP from October 15th through December 7th.
We understand how difficult making the right Medicare decisions can be. To take the next step, watch our full course here, or schedule a free one-on-one call with a certified Medicare School Guide who can answer your questions, compare plans options, and even help you enroll. Click here to get started.
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