How Can I Switch from Medigap to Medicare Advantage?
You can generally switch from Medigap to Medicare Advantage (MA) during certain times during the year, as long as you are receiving Part A and Part B benefits and don’t have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). All you have to do is apply for an Advantage plan during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
Since Medigap policies can’t work with Advantage plans, you may want to cancel your Medigap plan when you enroll in Advantage.
How to Join an Advantage Plan
You can apply for an plan during your Initial Enrollment Period or the Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) each year. To join an Advantage plan, you’ll need to apply to the plan directly by doing one of the following:
- Joining online on the plan’s website.
- Contacting the plan for an open enrollment form, filling it out and returning it to them.
- Calling the plan.
If you choose an MA plan without prescription drug coverage, you should consider buying prescription drug coverage as well. If you don’t have creditable drug coverage for 63 days or more in a row, you may receive a penalty.
Not all plans accept new members. Some plans have capacity limits, meaning they can only have a certain amount new members join each year. A plan may issue a written denial refusing your enrollment. But don’t worry! You can always apply for another plan.
Canceling Your Medigap Policy
Once you join an MA plan, you will need to cancel your Medigap policy first. You won’t be able to receive benefits from your Medigap policy when you have an Advantage plan.
You can cancel your Medigap policy by contacting your insurance company. However, it’s important to note that you may not be able to return to your old plan, or any Medigap, also called Supplement Plan, if you decide to leave the Advantage Plan in the future.
Returning to Medigap
If you decide to leave your Advantage plan in the future, you can do so during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (January 1 to February 14) or Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) each year. You will automatically return to Part A and Part B the first month after you request to disenroll from you MA plan.
If you joined a plan for the first time and you decide to leave it within 12 months of joining, you may have a guaranteed issue right to buy a Medigap plan:
- You may be able to return to your same Medigap policy that you had before you joined an Advantage Plan if the insurance company still offers it. If it is no longer available, you will have a right to buy another Medigap policy.
- Whether or not you received prescription drug coverage from your Medigap policy before you switched to Advantage, your new Supplement policy can’t have drug coverage. However, you may be able to sign up for a Part D plan.
- You can apply for any Medigap policy if you joined an Advantage plan when you first became eligible.