Can You Change Medicare Supplement Plans? Should You?
Depending on the coverage path a Medicare recipient takes, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP, October 15-December 7) presents very different opportunities. The paths are:
Medicare/Supp/PDP: Combines three coverages-- Traditional Medicare (claims paid by the federal government), a Medicare Supplement plan (approved private insurance company plans) and a standalone prescription drug plan (PDP, is also sold by approved private insurance companies).
Medicare Advantage plans provide full medical and prescription coverage that meets Medicare standards. These plans makes use of a doctor and hospital network and involve out of pocket costs for benefits. (See Open Enrollment For Medicare: Choices To Be Made.)
Medicare plans automatically renew if the insured person does nothing. Most people do not make changes in their Medicare Supplement plan. Whether it is a good idea to change Medicare plans depends on benefits (which are standardized in Medicare Supplement products), rates, and your eligibility.
Medicare Supplement Plans differ from Medicare Advantage or PDP plans in that companies offering these plans are allowed to consider a person’s health condition—some conditions make you ineligible for the plan; others cause you to have to pay a higher rate. It is only when you turn 65 or otherwise qualify for “Guaranteed Issue,” that health conditions are not considered.
While it may seem attractive to use the Annual Enrollment Period to switch to a Medicare Supplement plan that offers a lower monthly premium, be sure you know all the implications of making this choice:
1. When you apply for a new type of Medicare Supplement plan (like changing from Plan F to Plan N) or to change insurance companies, you must meet the health qualifying criteria of the insurance company. If your health conditions translate into a higher rate for your plan, it may be less expensive to keep the plan you have.
2. One insurance company may treat particular health conditions differently than another. I can help you identify the company that will perhaps give your application a more favorable treatment.
3. Check the insurance company’s history of price increases to make sure the advantage of a new, first-year premium is not eaten up by increases over the next few years.
While it is usually best to stick with your existing Medicare Supplement plan, sometimes a change is desirable and worth it. And, you can always check for a better deal on Prescription Drug Plans. Nothing beats a qualified broker to advise you at no charge. Let’s Talk
I provide my clients a full range of options by being an independent broker who contracts with the major insurance companies in Colorado. I do not charge clients for my brokering work. Rather, I am paid a commission by the insurance company when I sell a plan. There is no cost, no risk and no pressure when you call me to get acquainted and find out how I can help. I seek first to understand you and your needs, and then to help you decide among available insurance solutions.