Changing your Medicare coverage is often a good idea, particularly if you have had the same plan for several years. New plans come to market and you could miss out on better prices if you don’t compare your plan to newer ones. For example, when the new Plan M and Plan N became available in 2010, they became popular for low rates.
When you apply for a new plan, never cancel your old plan until the new one is approved. I recommend waiting until you receive your policy and new insurance card before canceling your old coverage. Incidentally, this means that if you are moving from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medigap plan, you can drop your Advantage plan between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14.
To be able to get a Medigap Plan, you need to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. If you have a pre-existing health problem, better enroll during Medigap open enrollment when you cannot be charged higher premiums or be denied coverage because of health problems. Open enrollment is the first six months when you are at least 65 and enrolled in Part B.
At present, you can choose from 10 different Medigap Plans with different benefits and rates, but three states have adopted slightly different forms of Medigap. Not all of the 10 conventional plans are available is every state, either. It’s easy to run online quotes here on our site to see which Medigap Insurance plans are available in your state.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.