How to Switch Medicare Supplement Companies

Switching to a new medicare supplement company can at times be tricky if you don’t understand your available options when trying to change.

If you are currently on a medicare supplement policy and wish to move to a new company, you may have several options.

Medical Underwriting:

In most cases, depending on the state or residence, if you wish to switch, you can simply enroll in the new company either online or with a paper enrollment form.  You will need to answer the health, prescription and doctor visit questions provided.  Each company may ask different questions and require more detail regarding your health status and history.

This type of enrollment is approved or declined through medical underwriting.  Depending on your current or past health status, each company will review the answered health questions and base their decision on your health status.  The policy is then either approved or declines.  If approved there are no exclusions because of pre-existing conditions.

Birthday Rule – California & Oregon:

The birthday rule is unique to only California and Oregon, and is a 30 day open enrollment starting on your birthday and ending 30 days after.

This allows you to switch to any available medicare supplement company available in your state, and you can enroll in a similar plan or one with less benefits.  In other words, this is a lateral move or downgrade.  To increase benefits (upgrade plans) you must pass medical underwriting.

Moving to a new state or location:

If you move to a different state, this doesn’t trigger an open enrollment for your medicare supplement because medicare supplement policies are considered “portable.” Even if you move to a state where your current medicare supplement company does not operate in.

Since medicare supplement policies do not have networks of doctors and hospitals to navigate, you policy is good anywhere in the U.S.  Original Medicare is your primary coverage and the secondary policy is the supplement.  If you see a doctor who is medicare approved, by law they must also accept your secondary coverage (medicare supplement) regardless of the company.

If your company goes out of business:

This situation is not too common, but does happen. In this case, state law allows you a Special Open Enrollment, to switch to another company of your choice operating in your state.

Trial Right:

This is not necessarily a move from one medicare supplement to another.

Upon becoming eligible for Medicare benefits at age 65, you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and then dis-enrolled within 12 months: You are entitled to a Guaranteed Issue period of 63 days beginning with the date of dis-enrollment from the Medicare Advantage plan. With your application, you must provide proof of prior insurance.

The Medicare Supplement industry follows certain rules and regulations pertaining to guarantee-issue and open-enrollment situations.  Here is a list of some of the rules that apply .. Click Here

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