Changing your Medicare coverage is often a good idea, particularly if you have had the same plan for several years. Just like any type of insurance, rates go up over time, and usually, you can save a few bucks for equal coverage. Whenever you can, since plans are standardized, it is advisable to do so. Changing plans is very easy to do. That said, there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to do it.
Whether my agency helps you or not, you should know the RIGHT way to change plans to prevent being in one of the situations we run across so often. So, here are the WRONG ways to change your insurance plan:
- Cancel your current coverage once you apply for a new plan. When you apply for a new plan, NEVER cancel your old plan until your new plan is approved. I typically would recommend waiting until you receive your policy and new insurance card in hand before ever cancelling your old coverage, regardless of what type of plan it is. Incidentally, this means that if you are moving from an Advantage plan to an actual supplement plan, you have to start very early in the enrollment period as it takes most companies several weeks to approve a Medigap application.
- Talk to an insurance agent, instead of an insurance broker, and get the agent’s opinion. Insurance agents work for a company and sell plans from that one company. Insurance brokers can help you compare all of the available plans so you can make an informed, unbiased choice. Whatever you do, don’t simply take the word of someone who only has one option to sell you. They are going to, obviously, promote their own product over others.
- Leave a Medigap plan without understanding the consequences. This particularly refers to going from a Medigap plan to a Medicare Advantage plan. Doing so is very risky business, particularly if you have poor health. What can happen is that you can get “stuck” on an Advantage plan. Since you have to qualify medically for a Medigap plan, you may not be able to get back to an actual supplement plan.
- Put anything untrue on the application. Putting false information on a Medicare supplement plan application is, simply put, a bad idea, not to mention exposes you to some pretty serious risks (policy recission, financial penalties, etc.). Tell the truth.
If you want to make an insurance transition as smooth as possible, you must make any changes the “right” way to avoid making a mistake that could leave you without coverage or with less comprehensive coverage. If you have questions about this, you can get Medicare Supplement quotes from us online or call us at 877.506.3378.