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Think You Can Drop Your Supplemental Medical Coverage And Return Later? Think Twice

Think You Can Drop Your Supplemental Medical Coverage And Return Later? Think Twice

With the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15 to December 7) many beneficiaries are re-evaluating their current policy. Whether it adapts to their financial and health needs will make them change or update.

For example, some people drop their Medicare Advantage plans (MA plans) and return to Traditional Medicare. They would then buy a Standalone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) to maintain prescription drug coverage.

But if you would like to give up on your Medicare Supplemental Coverage (Medigap) to enroll in a MA plans or vice versa, the longer you stay on either one of the plans would make it more difficult for you to regret in the future.

Why? Because of the fine print you might have overlooked.

Timeframes

See, the thing is you can only get a Medicare Supplemental Plan during a Guarantee Issue Period or the Medigap Open Enrollment.

The Medigap Open Enrollment is a 6 months period time in which you cannot be denied or charged more because of any pre-existing conditions you may have. But after that time things get more complicated.

Guarantee Issue Periods are your second choice and they include:

  1. Enrolling in a MA Plan as soon as you are Medicare eligible
  2. Leaving your Supplemental Coverage (Medigap) to try a MA plan
  3. Your MA plan not being available in your area anymore

Option number #2 is the one that interests you. So, if you are really convinced of dropping your Medigap to try a MA plan you will have a 12 months period to try your new policy.

After the 12 months period you will not be able to return to your Medigap plan. The reason why is that you are no longer protected under Federal Law and you can be denied or even charged more for pre-existing conditions.

But there is a small chance…

Certain case scenarios would allow you to buy a Medigap plan even after you have dropped its coverage.

  • If you move to another state you might buy a new Medigap policy since you will be working with a new health network
  • If your Medicare Advantage plan is withdrawn from the marketplace you might get a grace period to go back to your Medigap plan

So before you decide dropping your Medigap plan make sure you will be able to make it on your own without Medigap to fill your coverage gaps. Or try not to exceed your 12 months period in case you want to try a new MA plan.

If you are still interested in trying a new policy you already know where to look. Keep an eye for the Medicare Open Enrollment beginning October 15 this year.

Tony Feijoo

Antonio’s career as a marketing consultant began in 1989 advising multi-national companies on strategies to reach US Hispanic households and expanding market reach for US companies in Latin America. In 2003 he consulted for the health insurance industry and became licensed in 2007, opening an insurance agency in South Florida. He is passionate about healthcare and the adverse impact costs have on the average American family. He is a member of HAFA, the Florida Chain, the Florida Alliance and believes that free market economics coupled with common sense regulations will provide the answers to a stable and fair health insurance system in our country

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