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When Can I Cancel My Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan?


Medicare Supplement insurance plans are offered by private insurance companies and can help you pay for out-of-pocket costs for services covered under Original Medicare. You must pay a monthly premium for your Medicare Supplement plan, and if you find that you do not expect to use the plan’s benefits you may want to cancel your plan.

You can cancel your Medicare Supplement insurance plan anytime by calling your insurance company. Keep in mind that when you cancel your plan, you may not be able to get it back and you may not be able to get another Medicare Supplement plan without being subjected to medical underwriting. Medical underwriting is the process in which insurance companies can use your medical history and pre-existing conditions* to deny you basic benefits, charge you more for basic benefits, or impose a waiting period before benefits start.

Canceling your Medicare Supplement insurance plan and getting a new one

You may want to cancel your Medicare Supplement insurance plan because you want to switch to a different plan. You can cancel the plan anytime as long as you notify your health insurance company in writing.

However, in most cases, under federal law you don’t have the right to switch Medicare Supplement insurance plans unless you have guaranteed-issue rights to buy a plan, either because you’re in the 6-month window of your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, or for a different reason. The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP) begins on the first day of the month in which you’re both age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

During your Medicare Supplement OEP, an insurance company can’t reject your application for a plan, or charge you more based on your health history. However, in some cases you might face a waiting period before plan benefits begin. During your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period you may be able to buy a plan, change your mind, cancel that plan, and buy another one. You could begin research about Medicare Supplement insurance plans before your Open Enrollment Period begins so that you are prepared to make a good choice during this time window.

Guaranteed-issue rights are the other situation where you will not be subjected to medical underwriting when applying for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan. Guaranteed-issue rights outside of your Medicare Supplement OEP are only granted in specific circumstances, such as when you lose your health-care insurance because you move out of the plan’s service area or your insurance company goes bankrupt. If you lose your Medicare Supplement benefits because you stopped paying the plan’s premium, you will not generally be given guaranteed issue rights to shop for a new plan.

Trying out a different Medicare Supplement insurance plan

Outside of your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP), you may be able to take advantage of the “free look period“ to try out a different Medicare Supplement insurance plan. This 30-day period starts when you get a new Medicare Supplement policy but don’t cancel the old one. To get the new policy, you have to promise that you’ll cancel your old policy within 30 days. You will pay the premiums for both plans for one month, so the look isn’t technically free. You may be subjected to medical underwriting when applying for the new plan outside of your Medicare Supplement OEP. If at the end of the 30 days you decide you prefer your old plan, you can keep your old plan and cancel the new plan.

The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these eHealth Insurance Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

*Pre-existing conditions are generally health conditions that existed before the start of a policy. They may limit coverage, be excluded from coverage, or even prevent you from being approved for an insurance plan; however, the exact definition and relevant limitations or exclusions of coverage will vary with each plan, so check a specific plan’s official plan documents to understand how that plan handles pre-existing conditions.

The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these eHealth Insurance Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

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