In most cases, you cannot simply switch to another plan, unless you have a guaranteed issue-right or are within your free look period. If you don’t have a guaranteed-issue right or are outside your open enrollment period and free look period, you will need to qualify for the plan by answering health questions on the application.
It’s important to review the benefits, premiums, and other factors for both plans to help determine whether applying for a different plan is right for you. Some of the older policies may not be guaranteed renewable and may feature larger premium increases than a new plan – all of the Medicare supplement plans available today are guaranteed renewable.
Do not cancel your existing plan until you decide to keep the new one – applications will state that if you want to purchase the new one, you will promise to cancel the old one. However, you have 30 days to decide if you want to keep the new policy (known as your “free look period”). The free look period begins when you receive the policy.
Can my insurance company drop me from Medigap plan coverage? The answer is generally “no” – after 1992, Medicare supplement plans were made guaranteed renewable. This means that your insurance company can’t drop you from your Medigap plan unless:
- You stop paying your premiums
- You intentionally lied on the application for the plan
- The carrier goes bankrupt or becomes insolvent – this results in a guaranteed-issue right to purchase a new plan with another carrier (you can choose from plans A, B, C, F, K, or L)
So why switch at all? You may want to secure coverage under a new plan for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for switching are:
- You want to reduce your expenses by securing a lower premium from a policy with the same benefits (purchasing a Plan F with company B and dropping the existing Plan F with company A).
- You may not need/want all of the benefits you’re paying for
- You need/want more benefits than you have under your existing plan
- You want to change your insurance company