How to Switch Medigap Policies

1.

Research the Medigap laws in your state to find out whether or not you are guaranteed the right to enroll in a new Medigap plan. Under federal law, there are limited times in which you are guaranteed the right to enroll in a Medigap plan, and if you are not within this timeframe, you may not be able to switch. Different states have different laws, and you should call your state's Department of Insurance or State Health Insurance Assistance Program to find out what your rights and protections are.

2.

Find a new Medigap plan that best suits your needs that is available for purchase in your area. Since it can sometimes be difficult to understand the many benefits Medigap plans offer, you can try using Medicare.gov's Medigap plan finder tool (see Resources). This tool will allow you to input customizable information and will supply you with a list of plans available in your area and estimated annual costs.

3.

Call the Medigap plans you are interested in to ask questions. You will want to ask about the monthly premium and how that monthly premium is determined—is it based on your health, your gender, your marital status or any other factors? How is the premium calculated and will it change over the years? When will your preexisting conditions be covered? You should also ask if the plan has a crossover agreement with Medicare. A crossover agreement is when a Medigap contracts with Medicare so that the plan automatically pays secondary to Medicare for all covered services. This makes for more seamless coverage. Finally, ask when coverage will begin. This is important so that you can make arrangements with the plan you are leaving so that you have no gaps in coverage.

4.

Enroll in your new Medigap. Do not disenroll from your old Medigap yet. When you begin a new Medigap policy, you have a 30-day trial period before you commit. Medigap-Insurance.org recommends paying the double premium for this 30-day period to ensure that if you do not like your new coverage that you are not left without any coverage at all. After the 30-day trial period, if you want to keep your new Medigap, you must disenroll from your old Medigap policy.

Medicare is a federal health care benefit for the elderly and disabled populations in the United States. Most Medicare enrollees opt to get their health care benefits directly through the federal government. If they opt for this traditional Medicare method, they can purchase a Medicare supplemental insurance plan called a Medigap policy. Medigap policies help pay for some of the leftover costs of Medicare. As health care needs change, what a beneficiary may need from his Medigap policy may change as well.