When Can I Cancel My Medicare Supplement plan?
This article was updated on: 09/16/2018
You may have purchased a Medicare Supplement plan when you were first eligible because you know that Original Medicare has no out-of-pocket maximum and you were concerned about your out-of-pocket spending under Medicare. A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan may help cover some of Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. But your situation may have changed and you may now want to cancel your Medicare Supplement plan because:
- You’re pretty healthy and don’t have many medical expenses. Your Medicare Supplement plan is not covering many coinsurances, copayments, or deductibles for you and it feels unnecessary.
- You enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and you know you can’t use a Medicare Supplement plan to help pay your Medicare Advantage copayments, deductibles and premiums. Medicare Supplement doesn’t work with Medicare Advantage.
Canceling your Medicare Supplement plan
There is no specific disenrollment period or procedure for canceling your Medicare Supplement plan. You can disenroll at any time. Simply contact your insurance company and tell them that you want to drop your policy. Your coverage may continue through the end of the month that you’ve already paid for and terminate in the following month.
Things to think about before you cancel your Medicare Supplement plan
It may be easier to drop your Medicare Supplement plan than to get it back so make a careful decision.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s illegal for someone to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy unless you’re switching back to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). This law is to protect you from buying useless insurance since a Medicare Supplement plan can’t benefit you if you have a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you decide to leave your Medicare Advantage plan, you can typically get Original Medicare back if you are still eligible but you may not be able to get Medicare Supplement again unless you have a “trial right” or “guaranteed issue.” A trial right is when you have the opportunity to try a Medicare Advantage plan but still buy a Medicare Supplement policy if you decide against Medicare Advantage. Usually the trial rights must be exercised within a year of signing up for the Medicare Advantage plan.
If you have guaranteed issue rights it means that an insurance company generally must sell you a Medicare Supplement policy, cover all your pre-existing health conditions and not charge you more because of any health problems. You may get guaranteed issue in special circumstances, such as:
- Your Medicare Advantage plan leaves Medicare and you switch to Original Medicare
- Your Medicare Advantage stops giving care in your area and you switch to Original Medicare
- You move out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s service area and you switch to Original Medicare
- You drop you Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan because the insurance company misled you or committed fraud
- Your Medicare Supplement policy ends through no fault of your own, such as the insurance company goes bankrupt
Read more about guaranteed issue circumstances.
If you don’t have guaranteed issue or trial rights, a Medicare Supplement insurance company may deny you coverage based on your pre-existing conditions or may charge you more for a policy than you were paying previously for the same policy.
Canceling a Medicare Supplement plan and getting a different one
You may wish to switch Medicare Supplement policies because you found one with a lower premium or one with better coverage. As your health needs change, your desired coverage may change as well. You usually don’t have the right under Federal law to switch Medicare Supplement policies unless you have guaranteed issue rights (explained above) or you’re in your six-month Medicare Supplement open enrollment period.
Learn more about switching Medicare Supplement policies.
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