Do I Need to Wait After I Purchase My First Medigap Policy Before I Can Change to a Different Policy?

There is no preset limit for deciding you don't like a policy. You can apply for another policy the next day as long as you are willing to pay both premiums for a month. However, if you have had the first policy for less than six months the new policy may delay coverage of a pre-existing condition.

Auntie Lou says, "Delay rather than deny is the #1 insurance company strategy, be aware of it before you switch!"

Be Aware of Medigap Time Frames. Do Not Procrastinate!

Medigap policies are very time-oriented insurance products. This means that patient protection laws that affect these policies are time sensitive. Not only are they time sensitive, they are complicated and in many cases irreversible.

Procrastination is not an option when it comes to Medigap plans. You have only six months after you are 65 and are enrolled in Original Medicare Part B to buy a Medigap policy with Guaranteed Issue Rights. During this time the company is basically forced to accept you on very favorable terms. After this period has ended you may still be able to buy a policy but the terms (how much you pay for what you get) will not be as favorable.

Trial Period Rights

When you first purchase a Medigap Policy you have what is known as a Trial Period to decide if you like the policy or not. This Trial Period only lasts 30 days and unfortunately this is much shorter than the average Medicare Billing cycle. Medigap is useful because it pays your portion of the bills associated with Medicare. You probably won't know what they will cover until this 30-day Trial Period expires.

The 1-year Trial Period For Advantage

There are two other trial periods that affect Medigap policies that you should be aware of. If you have Original Medicare with a Medigap Plan and you want to try a Medicare Advantage Plan you will have one year to switch back to Original Medicare. 60 days before your Advantage policy ends and no later than 63 days after coverage ends you can re-enroll in your old Medigap Plan. These same rules apply to people who have chosen an Advantage Plan but want to try Original Medicare.

Similarly if you have chosen to join All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) you will have a one year Trial Period to decide if you like the program or not. If you decide to switch back to Original Medicare the same 60/63-day time limit applies. In certain cases this can be extended for as long as a year.

Learn About Your States Laws

State laws can extend Trial Rights. Some states have adopted different laws that extend the trial periods for patients past what is required by federal law. Check with your states SHIP office to find out what rules apply in your state.