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How to change your Medigap plan
Weiss Ratings recommends taking the following steps before switching policies:
Step 1: Determine if your policy was issued prior to January 1, 1992. If it was, and if it was guaranteed renewable, you did not switch to one of the standard plans. This policy should be compared carefully to the newer standardized plans before switching. Remember: once you switch to one of the new standardized plans, you can never switch back to a non-standard plan.
Furthermore, you should know that if you already have a Medigap policy, it is against federal law for a company to sell you another one. When you buy another policy, you must sign a statement indicating that you are replacing your current policy and do not intend to keep both.
Step 2: Before switching policies, compare benefits and premiums. It is important to note that some of the older, non-standard policies may provide superior coverage, and your increased age may make comparable coverage more expensive. Also, be sure to find out if your situation provides you the right to a guaranteed-issue Medigap policy.
Step 3: Determine any impact on pre-existing conditions. Any portion of a pre-existing condition satisfied under the old policy will be credited to the new policy. Example: The old policy specified that it would not cover a pre-existing condition for the first six months. You switch policies after just two months. As a result, you only have four months to wait under the new policy to be covered for your pre-existing condition.
(Exception: If your new policy has a benefit that was not included in your old policy, a new six-month waiting period may be imposed on that particular benefit.)
Step 4: Use the “free-look” provision which allows you 30 days to review a Medigap policy once you’ve paid the first premium. If, during the first 30 days, you decide you don’t want or need the policy you can return it to the company for a full refund.
Step 5: Do not cancel your old policy until your new policy is in force.