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Switching Your Medigap Policy: Information For Supplemental Health Insurance Policy Holders

If you already have a Medigap policy, you don't generally have a right under Federal law to switch to a different senior supplemental health insurance policy. However, you may be eligible to switch policies if you're still in your six-month open enrollment period, or if you're eligible for certain types of guaranteed issue rights.

If your supplemental health insurance company allows you to switch your policy, carefully compare the benefits and premiums of the old and new plans before signing a contract.

If you do decide to change policies, don't cancel your first Medigap policy right away. When signing up for your new policy, you will have a 30-day trial (called a "free look" period) to decide if you want to keep your new Medigap policy. While you will have to pay both premiums for the month, you may also end up avoiding a frustrating and expensive mistake.

There are no requirements for how long you have to wait between the time you buy your first policy to the time you switch to a new one.

It's important to note that if you've had your current Medigap policy for less than six months, your Medigap insurance company may be able to make you wait up to six more months before covering any pre-existing medical conditions. If your first Medigap policy offered the same benefits, however, and you've been covered under your first policy for more than six months, your new supplemental health insurance policy must cover any pre-existing conditions.

If your new Medigap policy for seniors offers benefits not offered with your first policy, you may have to wait for up to six months before coverage of those benefits begins.

Reasons for Switching Your Medigap Policy

There are several reasons you may want to switch to a different supplemental health insurance plans. These include:

  1. You may be happy with your current coverage benefits, but you want to switch to a more affordable policy.
  2. You are displeased with your health insurance company.
  3. Your changing health needs have made it necessary to increase your benefits coverage.
  4. You are paying for coverage benefits you don't use.

Many seniors worry about changing their supplemental health insurance plan when moving out of state. However, as long as you are a member of the Original Medicare Plan, you can keep your current Medigap policy without any problems. If you'd still prefer to switch to a Medigap plan or insurer in your new state of residence, you will have to talk to someone at an in-state Medigap insurance company to find out if they can sell you a new Medigap policy.

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