Customers may want to change from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement plans to meet their changing needs. There are certain periods during which it is easier to change plans and is recommended for switching from Medicare Advantage to Medigap plans. The key details pertaining to switching of Medicare plans are provided below:
Ideal Period for Switching
To purchase Medicare Supplement plans, the customers should first leave their Medicare Advantage plan and return back to Medicare Part A and Part B as administered under the federal Medicare program. Customers cannot have both Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans at the same time. The customers can leave their Medicare Advantage plans only during certain time periods. Usually, customers can disenroll during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period from January 1- February 14 and Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Annual Election Period from October 15- December 7. Once the customers have given up their Medicare Advantage plan and returned back to the Original Medicare, they can apply for Medigap policies anytime they wish. However, it is important to note that they will not be having guaranteed-issue rights so the insurance company may reject their application.
Switching Plans with Guaranteed-Issue Rights
In some cases, customers can switch from Medicare Advantage plans to Medigap with guaranteed-issue rights. However, these situations have time limitations and the customers need to apply for the Medigap policy within 63 days after the end of Medicare Advantage plan. If the customer purchased a Medicare Advantage plan when they were eligible for Original Medicare and they are unsatisfied with the plan, they can give up the Medicare Advantage plan and return back to the Original Medicare within 12 months. In such cases, they have a special right to purchase Medigap policies if they return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B within 12 months. In other cases when the customers move to an area where the Medicare Advantage plan does not serve or the Medicare Advantage plan does not serve the area where the customer lives, then they have a guaranteed-issue rights for Medicare Supplement plan.
Process for Switching
The customers should verify if the Medigap policy they wish to purchase is available in their location. The customers then should call the Medicare Advantage plan and inform them of their wish to leave and ask for disenrollment form. They can also call the Social Security Administration or they can also visit their Social Security Office for filing their disenrollment form.