Earlier today I was asked, “Will you be fully underwritten if you leave a Medicare Advantage plan and go to a Medicare Supplement?” I was asked this question last week. The more I thought about it, the more I understood how easily a person on Medicare can get confused.
We are currently in Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period. This year that window is October 15 through December 7. During this time, anyone, regardless of health or age, can make changes to their Medicare D or Medicare Advantage plans.
Unfortunately, that is not the case with Medicare Supplement insurance. If you are confused about what you can and cannot do during this Annual Enrollment Period, I hope the information below will help you.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT TO MEDICARE ADVANTAGE
Let’s first take a look at your options to go from Medicare Supplement to Medicare Advantage.
Some people feel that they are spending too much for Medicare Supplement and Medicare D (Prescription Drug Plan) insurance. They pay premium to maintain as much control over their health insurance as possible. Medicare Supplement will pay for medical bills, regardless of what doctor you see, provided Medicare has approved your claim.
The only time you have to be concerned about limitations with a Medicare Supplement plan is if you have elected to use a Medicare Supplement Select type of plan in order to hold the premiums down. Select plans require you to use
specific hospitals for non-emergency treatment.
If you elect to change from Medicare Supplement to Medicare Advantage you can only do that during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period or your 6 month Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage. Outside of those times, you
will not be able to make the change you want.
There are no underwriting requirements to change from Medicare Supplement to Medicare Advantage. The only catch is that you must do it during one of Medicare’s Enrollment Periods.
MEDICARE ADVANTAGE TO MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT
Things are different if you elect to change from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement. There are a few things of which you need to be aware.
First, you can only cancel a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period at the end of the year or during the Annual Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period at the start of the year. If you do not disenroll during those 12 weeks, you are stuck with your Medicare Advantage plan for the balance of the year.
Secondly, you need to remember that you will be medically underwritten for Medicare Supplement insurance unless you qualify for one of the guaranteed issue exceptions. You can find those exceptions in Medicare’s book, “Guide to Medigap”.
WHICH PLAN DO YOU WANT?
Both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement have their pros and cons.
Which plan is best for you will depend on your personal value system. If you want to retain as much control over your health care as possible for someone on Medicare, you will elect to supplement your Medicare with Medicare D and Medigap.
If, on the other hand, you value money over control, you cannot go wrong with Medicare Advantage, provided you understand the plan and its limitations.
The Insurance Barn can help you with either option. All you need to do is contact us and tell us options you are interested in. We will send you the information you need to enroll in the program you elect.