Can You Switch From Medicare Advantage Plans to Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

Are you debating switching from your current Medicare Advantage plan to Medicare Supplement Insurance? Before you decide, let's do a quick review of the differences between the plan types:

  • Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) enables you to receive your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits through a private Medicare-approved insurance company.
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans work in conjunction with your original Medicare (Part A and Part B) benefits by paying for certain costs not covered, like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.  

When Can I Switch From Medicare Advantage to Medigap?

There are four basic options for seniors currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan who would like to switch to a Medigap plan:

  • Medicare Advantage disenrollment period – The disenrollment period allows Medicare Advantage plan participants to drop their current plan and join a new plan.
    • The annual disenrollment period runs from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14. During this time, participants can leave their Medicare Advantage plan to return to original Medicare, join a prescription drug plan or join a Medigap plan.
    • Participants should not disenroll from their Medicare Advantage until they are approved for Medigap. Once approved, then they can choose a prescription drug plan with a coinciding start date.
    • Note: Enrolling in a prescription drug plan will automatically drop participants from their Medicare Advantage plan. Participants need to ensure their Medigap plan is approved first.
  • Medicare Advantage open enrollment period – The optimal time for you to switch from Medicare Advantage to a Medigap plan may be during the annual election period.
    • The annual open enrollment period runs every year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.  
    • Participants will be required to answer medical questions. The Medigap plan approval process can take up to 10 business days.
    • Note: Enrolling in a prescription drug plan will automatically drop participants from their Medicare Advantage plan. Participants need to ensure their Medigap plan is approved first.
  • First year of Medicare Advantage – There are two ways to switch without medical underwritings in the first year of enrollment.
    • If you enrolled in your Medicare Advantage plan when first eligible and you decide within the first year to switch to original Medicare, you can enroll in any Medigap policy available in your area. The timeframe for enrollment is 60 days prior to your coverage ending to 63 days after your coverage ends.
    • If you left your Medigap plan to join a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch back within the first year, you are allowed to return to your previous Medigap plan. The timeframe for enrollment is 60 days prior to your coverage ending to 63 days after your coverage ends. If your previous Medigap plan is no longer offered, you can purchase plan A, B, C, F, K or L from any company in your area.
  • Special enrollment period – You may be able to switch to Medigap without medical underwriting during the special enrollment period if you have Medicare Advantage (Part C).
    • If you have Medicare Advantage and you relocate to an area with no plan coverage, you can enroll in Medigap plans A, B, C, F, K or L. The timeframe for enrollment is 60 days prior to your coverage ending to 63 days after your coverage ends.
    • If your Medicare Advantage plan misled you or hasn’t followed the rules, you can enroll in Medigap plans A, B, C, F, K or L. The timeframe for enrollment is 60 days prior to your coverage ending to 63 days after your coverage ends.

Making the decision to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Medigap may not be the best option for everybody. It is important to consider each plan’s options to determine the coverage that best suits your healthcare needs. Discuss with your financial advisor whether switching plans is a fiscally responsible decision based on your plan requirements.

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

Get New Posts Emailed to You!
*required
 

Finance Made Simple

Contact Wood Smith Advisors

(703) 753-8222

Email