Medigap plans change, too. They may go out of business, forcing you to look for another plan. They may also slap policyholders with rate increases.
Meanwhile, other plans may become available in your area with lower premiums or a better pricing structure for you.
If this happens, you should consider shopping around for a better Medigap plan. One that more closely suits your needs and budget.
This blog post will discuss the benefits of switching to a new Medigap policy. It will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of switching from your Medigap plan to Medi-Share 65+, a more affordable health sharing plan.
Benefits of Switching to a New Medigap Plan
Depending on your circumstances, switching Medigap plans may bring the following benefits:
- Lower premiums. Switching Medigap plans can help you find a plan with lower monthly premiums, saving you money.
- Change in healthcare needs. If your health condition has changed, switching to a different Medigap plan can ensure you have coverage that meets your current needs, such as prescription drugs or specialized services.
- Better customer service. If you’re unhappy with your current plan’s customer service, switching to a different Medigap plan can provide better support and responsiveness.
- Expanded provider network. Switching to a different plan can give you access to a broader network of healthcare professionals and hospitals.
- Additional benefits. Some Medigap carriers also offer extra benefits like vision, dental, or hearing coverage, which may be important to you.
- Better rate stability. Switching plans can provide more rate stability, protecting you from significant premium increases.
- Travel coverage. Some Medigap plans offer travel benefits that help you pay for care outside of the U.S. If yours doesn’t, and you plan to travel outside of the United States, you should consider switching to a Medigap plan that covers foreign travel. Among the standardized Medigap plans, Plan C, Plan D, Plan F, Plan G, Plan M, and Plan N may include foreign travel benefits.
However, plans F and C are no longer available to new enrollees.
Read more about Switching to a New Medigap Policy here.
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When Can I Switch Medigap Plans?
While you can apply to switch Medigap plans at any time, acceptance is only guaranteed under certain conditions.
You have guaranteed enrollment rights to a new Medigap policy if these circumstances apply.
- Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This is a six-month period that begins when you are both 65 years old or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this period, you have guaranteed issue rights, meaning that insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you higher premiums based on your health condition
- During A Special Enrollment Period. You have guaranteed issue rights if you lose certain types of health coverage, such as employer-sponsored coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan, or if your current Medigap plan is ending its coverage or going out of business.In these situations, you have a limited timeframe to switch to a new Medigap plan without being subject to medical underwriting.
To take advantage of a special enrollment period, you must complete your enrollment into your new plan not less than 63 days after your previous coverage ends.
Keep any letters, notices, emails or claim denials you receive. You may need them when you apply to your new plan to prove that your previous coverage was terminated, and therefore you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- During Your Birthday Enrollment Period. A few states let you switch Medigap plans with equal or lesser benefits without medical underwriting for a brief window of time around your birthday every year.This privilege is not available in most states. But if you live in Maryland, California, Oregon, Illinois. Nevada, or Idaho, you may want to schedule a Medigap checkup close to your birthday to take advantage of this provision.
Specific time frames and details vary by state. For details specific to your state, and to enroll, contact a Personal Benefits Manager.
Supercharge Your Savings: Switch From Medigap to a Healthshare Plan
Yes, you can switch from Medigap to a healthshare plan at any time during the year.
Healthshare plans don’t have limited open enrollment periods or special enrollment periods. However, healthsharing plans generally impose a waiting period before they will share costs related to any pre-existing conditions.
What are Healthsharing plans?
A healthsharing plan, also known as a health sharing ministry or healthcare sharing ministry, is a non-insurance alternative to traditional Medicare supplement insurance. It is a form of cost-sharing among members who have similar religious or ethical beliefs.
Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in Medi-Share 65+, an innovative and affordable health share plan that covers most of the same benefits as the popular Medigap Plan GPlan F or Plan N – at a much lower monthly cost in most areas.
With Medi-Share 65+, you are only responsible for the first $500 in qualified out-of-pocket household expenses (your annual household portion, or AHP) for medical services ordinarily covered under Medicare Parts A and B.
Once your household meets that $500 annual contribution, 100% of your eligible medical bills that Medicare does not pay are shared by your fellow Medi-Share members.
Typically, these costs include copays, co-insurance, deductibles, and in some states, Medicare “excess charges,” which are fees charged by doctors in excess of standard Medicare reimbursement rates.
As of mid 2023, Medicare enrollees from age 65 through 74 can enroll in Medi-Share 65+ for just $99 per month. From age 75 and up, you can enroll in Medi-Share 65+ for just $150.
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Neither Medigap nor Medi-Share includes prescription drug coverage. Most people buy a standalone Medicare Part D plan to work alongside their Medigap or Medi-Share 65+ plan to help them pay for high-cost prescription drugs.
Medi-Share 65+ also includes access to a powerful discount program that allows you to buy quality generic prescription drugs at up to 80% less than the standard retail pharmacy price.
What To Consider When Switching Medigap Plans
Here are some of the different factors you should consider before you drop your current Medigap coverage in favor of something else:
- Benefits and coverages in the plan
- Monthly premiums
- Projected premium increases
- Customer reviews
- Financial strength and stability of the insurance company
- Foreign travel benefits
- Care networks (if switching out of Medigap)
- Coinsurance and copays
- Medicare excess charge
- Additional benefits
Your Personal Benefits Manager can save you hours of hassle by helping you research many different plans, and help you narrow down your options. Thereby ensuring you are enrolled in the best possible plan to suit your individual circumstances.
How To Switch Medigap Plans
The easiest and most reliable way to switch Medigap plans or switch from Medigap to the Medi-Share 65+ healthsharing alternative is to make an appointment with a Personal Benefits Manager.
Our expert health insurance professionals are among the most highly trained and experienced in the industry, and among the few with expertise both in traditional health insurance and healthsharing.
Once your new plan approves you and we complete enrollment, we will help you cancel your existing Medigap policy.
By waiting until you are approved and enrollment in the new plan is complete, you can be sure of avoiding a break in coverage – vastly reducing your risk.
Remember to consult with healthcare providers, review your specific Medicare plan, and explore community resources for comprehensive care and assistance throughout the Alzheimer’s and dementia journey.
FAQs on Switching Medigap Plans
Can I switch Medigap plans at any time?
Yes, you can switch Medigap plans at any time throughout the year. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans do not have specific enrollment periods.
Will I be subject to medical underwriting when switching Medigap plans?
Unless you qualify for a guaranteed issue right or are within your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP), you may be subject to medical underwriting when switching Medigap plans. This means the insurance company can consider your health history and may charge higher premiums or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
When is the Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP)?
The Medigap Open Enrollment Period is a six-month period that starts when you are 65 years old or older and you are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
What are guaranteed issue rights and when do they apply?
Guaranteed issue rights protect you from medical underwriting. They apply in specific situations, such as losing certain types of health coverage, your current Medigap plan ending its coverage, or your Medigap plan going out of business. These rights provide a limited timeframe to switch to a new Medigap plan without being subject to medical underwriting.
Can I switch to any Medigap plan I want?
You can switch to any available Medigap plan, but your ability to get coverage at the desired plan and rate may depend on your health history and the underwriting practices of the insurance company.
Are there any waiting periods when switching Medigap plans?
If you had prior creditable coverage, there generally should not be any waiting periods for pre-existing conditions when switching Medigap plans. However, if you have a significant gap in coverage, the new Medigap plan may impose a waiting period before covering pre-existing conditions.
Should I cancel my old Medigap policy before applying for a new one?
It is recommended to wait until your new Medigap policy is approved before canceling your old one to avoid a gap in coverage. Make sure you have the new policy in place before terminating the existing one.
Can I keep my same insurance company when switching Medigap plans?
In most cases, you can switch Medigap plans within the same insurance company. However, you should confirm with your Personal Benefits Manager or your current carrier if they allow switching between their different Medigap plans.
The current plan may not be the best match for you. Sometimes you can get a much better value by switching carriers altogether.
Will I have to start over with a new deductible when switching Medigap plans?
If you switch between Medigap plans with different deductibles, you may have to meet the new plan’s deductible before it provides coverage. However, any deductibles you’ve already met under your previous Medigap plan should be credited towards the new plan.
Can I switch Medigap plans if I have a pre-existing condition?
If you are outside your Medigap Open Enrollment Period or do not have a guaranteed issue right, the new Medigap plan may review your health history and could charge higher premiums or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
However, if you have guaranteed issue rights, you cannot be turned down for a Medigap plan.