In general, you won’t have a right under federal law to switch Medigap policies, unless you are within your 6-month open enrollment period or have a guaranteed issue right as noted above. That does not necessarily mean you can’t switch your policy: If your state has more generous rules, or the insurance company is willing to sell you a Medigap policy, you may be able to change policies. Just know that if you don’t have a guaranteed issue right, or it’s outside your Medigap open enrollment period, you may have to answer some medical questions or pay more for your new Medigap policy.
You have the right to change your mind and cancel your new Medigap policy within the first 30 days if you are not satisfied with it. This right is called your free-look period. The 30 day free-look period starts when you get your new Medigap policy.
If you do choose to switch, it’s a good idea to keep your first Medigap policy until you have decided to keep the new policy. You will need to pay both premiums for one month, but it may be worth it: As long as you don’t cancel your original policy during the free-look period, you will be able to return to this plan if you don’t like the new Medigap policy you have chosen.
In order to take advantage of this suggestion, you will need to state on your new application that you promise to cancel your first Medigap policy. Once you are sure you are happy with your new policy, you can call your current insurance company and ask to have your coverage end. The insurance company will tell you how to submit a request to cancel your policy.
If you have an older Medigap policy that you bought before 1992, you don’t have to switch to one of the newer, standardized Medigap policies. Also, if you bought a Plan D or G before June 1, 2010, you have a right to keep that plan, even though these policies have different benefits than D or G plans effective on or after June 1, 2010.
If you do decide to get a newer policy, however, you will not be able to get your older policy back once it is cancelled. Also note that if the new Medigap policy has a benefit that isn’t in your current older policy, you may have to wait up to 6 months before that benefit will be covered, regardless of how long you’ve had your current Medigap policy.
You can keep your current Medigap policy in any state as long as you are still in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). If you want to switch to a different policy, you will have to check with your insurance company to see if they will offer you a different Medigap policy. You may have to pay more for your new Medigap policy and answer some medical questions if you are buying a policy outside of your Medigap open enrollment period.
If you have a Medicare SELECT policy and you move out of the policy’s area, you can do one of the following:
- Switch to a standardized Medigap policy from your current insurance company. The policy must offer the same or fewer benefits than your current Medicare SELECT policy.
- Switch to a new Medigap policy from a different insurance company. You have a guaranteed issue right to buy a Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L from any insurance company that sells them in your state.