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Can You Switch From Medigap to Medicare Advantage?

Learn if you can leave Medicare Supplement for an MA plan down the road

by Katie Banks+ on Jul 08, 2015 | 29 Comments

If you’re turning 65, you’ve probably heard while Original Medicare and Medigap combo are the greatest financial protection, Medicare Advantage will cost less per month. So what if you enroll in Medigap, can you enroll in Medicare Advantage down the line? We’ve got your answer.

 

 

Can You Switch from Medigap to Medicare Advantage?

Yes. Not only can you switch from Medigap to Medicare Advantage (MA), but this may be a very smart move for Medicare-eligible seniors. Let me explain below.

Learn More about Medigap Get a Medigap Quote

Why is Switching from Medigap to Medicare Advantage a Smart Move?

The main reason why starting with Medigap and switching later to a Medicare Advantage plan is a smart move is because you are guaranteed enrollment into Medigap when first eligible. This way you can see how Medigap works for you, if you can afford it, how your health status improves, stays the same, or declines, and decide at anytime during Open Enrollment each year if a Medicare Advantage plan is right for you or stay with Medigap.

Learn More about Medicare AdvantageGet a MA Quote

Remember switching from Medicare Advantage to Medigap is not as simple, and you may not be approved.

Things You Must Know about Medigap and Medicare Advantage

Before you enroll in either you must know:

  • You cannot have both Medicare Advantage and Medigap
  • Regardless of most preexisting conditions you can enroll in Medicare Advantage each year (unless you have End Stage Renal Disease)
  • It can be difficult to enroll in Medigap after your 6 month initial enrollment period
  • The best way to learn if switching from Medigap to Medicare Advantage is right for you is to call a Senior65 agent at 800-930-7956.

     

     

     

     

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    Reader Comments and Questions

    Click Here if you have a question

    By Stefan on April 15, 2019

    I am starting Medicare in May. I've enrolled in an advantage plan. My understanding is that I have 6 months to switch to a Medigap plan. My understanding is that Medigap F and F high deductible are going away in 2020. Does this apply to me? If I stay with Advantage and decide 3 or 4 years down the road to go to F, can I? Would doing that be different than enrolling in F, switching to Advantage and then going to F. 3 or 4 years down the road?

    Stefan
    If you start off with a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan you DO NOT have 6 months to switch to Medigap. There are many rules for switching and some of them are state specific but, generally, once your MA plan begins, you cannot disenroll until the next calendar year. Since you cannot have both MA and Medigap at the same time this would keep you from enrolling in a Medigap plan with 6 months. There is a chance to switch from MA to Medigap as part of your free trial right after 1 year. Check out this Medigap switching article to learn more and clarify your additional questions above. Feel free to give us a call if you would like help switching plans.
    -Chris from Senior65.com


    By Linda on October 27, 2018

    I currently have medicare, medigap, and a separate medicare drug plan. Can I change to a medicare advantage plan without drug coverage and keep my current medicare drug plan?

    Linda
    You cannot have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan AND and Medicare Part D drug plan. We can help you select a Medicare Advantage plan with the best drug coverage for you...should you decide to switch to MA. Give us a call!
    -Michelle from Senior65.com


    By Ed on October 22, 2018

    Currently have an Advantage plan plus have medical coverage under the VA. Get generic drugs from Advantage and two afib drugs from VA since they are cheaper. I live in Illinois but spend 5 months in California. I can get emergency care through urgicare or ER or regular and emergency care through the VA while in California. I recently was approved for a Medigap policy at a cost of $1500. My question is whether you think I should take the Medigap policy or keep what I have?

    Ed,
    There is not a right or wrong answer here as you have good options thanks to the VA. It would depend mainly on the quality of the MA plan you had. If it covered deductibles and copays for a low (or zero) premium and includes your IL doctors, it could be the better choice. If it has limitations, then you would be better off with the Medigap.
    To talk specifics, give us a call.
    -Chris from Senior65.com


    By Kathy on October 20, 2018

    I have had plan F 2 years but due to cost going up I am considering changing to an advantage plan. If I don't like it can i go back to plan N which at this time has no health questions (I have copd so would be denied on others) or would switching back even to plan N disqualify me.

    Kathy,
    You should be able to return to F but not to N. Plan F is not going away in 2020 but it will not be available to those new to Medicare. See below for the rule:

    If you switch from a Medigap plan to another health plan contracted with Medicare, but decide within the first 12 months that you want to go back to your previous Medigap plan, you can. If your original plan is not available, at that time, and only in this case, you can choose any available Medigap Plan and from any provider.
    Hope that helps and contact us if you would like us to serve as your agent to help you switch. There is no hidden fee or charge to work with us.
    -Michelle from Senior65.com


    By Karen on August 17, 2018

    Why can we get dental and/or vision coverage with a Medicare Advantage Plan and not with a Medigap Plan, especially considering that the premiums for Medigap Plans are far heftier than Medicare Advantage Plan?. Also, is there any way around getting a drug plan down the road without incurring a penalty for the rest of one's life? I am currently only taking one script (a natural thyroid med), which while covered by my current health insurance, will NOT be covered under Medicare when I start Medicare next year. To have to pay for a drug plan that won't even cover the med I'm taking smacks of extortion (and yes, I get that it's the government we're dealing with here). Thank you.

    There is not way to avoid the Part D penalty for late enrollment unless you have credible drug coverage via another source such as an employer. While it can feel unfair to those who do not take drugs, the penalty is in place to keep people from only adding the insurance after they are prescribed expensive medications. Here is the good news: We can help you identify a low cost plan to help you avoid the penalty which also has a robust list of covered drugs should you be prescribed new drugs in the future. Give us a call at 800-930-7956 for help.
    -Michelle from Senior65.com


    By Terence on August 16, 2018

    I presently have Aetna Medicare supplement plan F Can I change to an advantage plan and what would be the pros and cons? Thanking you in advance Terry

    Terence,
    Yes, you can change to a Medicare Advantage time but there are only certain times during the year to do so as stated in this article. Click here to learn the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage.
    -Eric from Senior65.com


    By Arlene on July 10, 2018

    Hi, I currently have Medigap insurance, no Part D. I live in Mexico and if I have an expensive procedure, I have a med evacuation plan that can fly me back to the States. I am considering dropping my Medigap due to the increase in premiums and just have a savings account set aside for the 20 per cent that would not be covered. However, if I drop my Medigap and then move back permanently to the States, I know I will not be able to regain that due to pre-existing conditions.. Would I be able to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan without underwriting questions? Thanks for your help with this, it's a big decision!

    You could enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan after dropping Medigap and there would be no underwriting questions. There are only certain times during the year that you can enroll in MA, the most popular being Oct 15-Dec 7. Also if you do not have Medicare Part D and you selected an MA plan that covers drugs you could be subject to a part D penalty.
    If you need help enrolling in an MA plan, please contact us. There is not fee to work with us and we can guarantee the lowest price available.
    -Michelle from Senior65.com


    By Karen on May 20, 2018

    My partner and I plan on full time RVing for a year or two after retiring. Considering moving all around the country, is it better to have Original Medicare or Advantage Plans?

    Karen,
    If you are travelling all across America you may be limited by a regional Medicare Advantage. If you can afford it, a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan is much more flexible and will cover most or all of your Original Medicare's out of pocket expenses. If Medigap doesn't fit your budget, then I might consider Original Medicare and a Part D drug plan while you are on the road.
    -Michelle from senior65.com


    By Gregory on March 28, 2018

    This is a great site! Reading all the questions and answers has helped with the greatest decision when turning 65, Medigap or Medicare Advantage. Thank you

    Gregory,
    Thanks for the kind words. We are working hard to help people make sense out of Medicare. Shameless plug: If you found this site helpful please consider enrolling in a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan through our site. This is how we make money and there is no charge or hidden fee passed on to you. Give our licensed team members a call at 800-930-7956!

    Thanks!
    -Eric from Senior65.com


    By Jacque on December 03, 2017

    My husband will turn 65 in March. I will in Sept. We both are very healthy. We plan on taking a Medigap policy. We are confused as what policy to take. F, G, N, etc. If we take the Medigap policy can we switch to another Medigap policy? If you stick to one policy when we sign up will the policy increase year to year?

    Jacque,
    Thanks for checking in. Most of our Medigap clients select Plan G but the right plan depends on local pricing and your budget. Plan prices usually increase as you age. Give us a call and we can help you narrow it down.

    Switching plans also depends on local rules. Learn more about switching Medigap here.
    -Chris from Senior65.com


    By Ann on November 21, 2017

    My husband currently has a Medigap F plan. If he switches to a High F plan and decides to switch back to the F plan, can he be declined or have to be underwritten? Or will his monthly premium go up based on his health? He has coverage with the VA, which we have been using.

    Ann,
    Switching from a Medigap High Deductible F to a standard Plan F will trigger medical underwriting unless there is special enrollment issues.. Insurance providers can approve at a higher rate or decline based on his health.
    -Eric at Senior65.com


    By Gail on November 07, 2017

    I started out with an advantage plan years ago (I am now 73) but got so mad at the insurance companies for changing their networks every year that I went to a medigap plan last year. I am pretty healthy and am spending way too much money on the medigap policy and so I would like to change back to an advantage plan. If i do that and want to change again to a medigap plan in the future, can I do that? What are the ramifications of changing again?

    Gail,
    If you go back to a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and then later want to return to Medigap you will most likely be subject to medical underwriting where they will ask health questions to determine if you are approved at the best rate, a high rate or declined.

    If you are unhappy with MA's networks always changing our advice would be to find a more affordable Medigap plan as they access Medicare's Network: the largest network in the nation. Contact us and we can help you find a better priced plan
    -Michelle from Senior65


    By Tom on October 31, 2017

    Am currently 65 and have joined Medicare Advantage Plan starting last March. Now I am considering to switch to Medicate Supplement taking advantage of guaranteed rights within the 12 months from the first time Medicate Advantage Plan enrollment. But, down the road later in the future if I want ( as I feel confident to stay healthy) would it be possible to switch back to Medicare Advantage Plan?

    Tom,
    You can always switch back to a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan during Open Enrollment (Oct 15 - Dec 7) regardless of your health. There are a few "special enrollment" options as well but Open Enrollment is really the only window for switching back to an MA Plan.

    We would love to help you enroll in your new Medigap plan. Please contact our offices for assistance. There is no charge or hidden fee to work with a Senior65.com agent.
    -Michelle from Senior65.com


    By Rhonda on August 12, 2017

    I qualifed for Medicare in June 2017. I chose a Medicare Advantage plan to see how it would pay knowing that I can switch to a supplement plan within 6 months. I have heard that Medicare advantage will be harder to keep as time goes by due to preexisting conditions. Can u shed some light on this?

    Rhonda,
    We know of no Medicare Advantage plan that as declined coverage due to a pre-existing condition. We have not heard that this will change in the future. Medigap plans, however, can turn you down if you apply outside your switching window.
    -Eric from https://www.senior65.com


    By kshala on July 27, 2017

    I'm new to Medicare. Have always been completely against single payer. But now that I understand how it works I think Medicare for everybody is the only way to get a control of health insurance and medical costs in America. The only problem with the model is the expense and mission creep where more and more benefits and eligible people are added without having a way to pay for them. The solution is to set a capped percentage of total GDP that can be spent and to pay for it with a VAT for every bit of economic activity that occurs. And the only way those can be adjusted in the future is with the same rules that cover amending the Constitution. That would constrain all parties to living within the system and America could get on with the business of being America instead of fighting over how to manage our nation's health.


    By edward on May 18, 2017

    I am elegible for both part A and B as of june 1,2017. Can I choose an advange plan now and switch to medigap during open enrolment in October-December to be effective January 1,2018 without any repercurssions as to pre existing conditions or increase cost? Will the 6 month of initial enrollment for medigap still be in effect for me? Thank you.

    Edward,
    Thank you for your question! There's a few different answers to your question. Firstly, Open Enrollment (Oct-Dec) does not apply to Medicare Supplement plans. Secondly, you have six months from the time you are eligible for Part B to enroll in a Medigap plan. Thirdly, you should enroll as soon as possible in a Medigap plan, if that is what you are interested in, because many plans give a first year discount that you would want to take advantage of, plus many Medigap plans have close to or first dollar coverage, and could save you money if you were sick.

    For further help with your specific situation, please contact one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
    -Chris from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Beth on May 01, 2017

    I have a Medicare Advantage with limited doctors. I turn 65 next month. Must I quit my Medicare advantage before I apply for a Medi-Gap plan G? If I do how long does it take?

    Beth,
    When you apply for Medigap plan you'll also apply for your Part D plan. Once your Part D is approved it will automatically cancel your Medicare Advantage plan. We'd be happy to help you make a smooth transition. Call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
    -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Alan on March 22, 2017

    I have both the original Medicare and a Medigap G pan. When I go to a Dr., can I use my Medicare card only (Instead of using both cards)? I understand that I will be responsible for the portion not covered by Medicare,

    Alan,
    You could do that, but why would you? You pay for Plan G, because it fills in the gaps of Original Medicare.
    -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Gina on February 08, 2017

    Thank you for the clearest information I've seen over months of searching!


    By Nettie on January 17, 2017

    Can you switch from supplement to advantage anytime or do you have to wait for the October to December enrollment period?

    Nettie,
    You do need to wait until Medicare's Open Enrollment to join a Medicare Advantage plan. For help, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
    -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Naomi on November 25, 2016

    Why does a supplement give you more financial protection? We started with a advantage years ago and then changed to a supplemental now our supplemenal premiums just increased again and I would like to back to a advantage.

    Naomi,
    If you were to get sick, and have a Medigap policy, you will have the largest network of specialists and hospitals in the country, as well as, with a Medigap plan such as Plan F you won't pay anything out of pocket for any services that Original Medicare covers, whereas if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan you are in a very limited network, and you will have out of pocket costs up to $6700 (depends on the plan).

    With that said, we understand that some people prefer the monthly savings of a Medicare Advantage plan. If that is the case, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent agents to help switch you from Medigap to MA at 800-930-7956.
    -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Eric on November 24, 2016

    My mother in law signed up for a MA plan a few years ago when she retired from work not realizing the implications at the time. For the last year and a half she has undergone several extensive treatments for lymphoma and moved to a different MA plan because the first one was out of network for her hospital. Is there any chance she can get into a Medigap plan at this point?

    Eric,
    In most states, if she has cancer, she will most likely be denied for enrollment into a Medigap plan.
    -Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


    By EVB on November 21, 2016

    I wished somebody told me that before we signed to our Medicare Advantage plan - try Medigap first. How can you switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap? We moved from being insured to Medicare Advantage within the same health care provider but when we moved to another area this provider has so much less services than where we lived before. It looks like after a year of signing, moving to Medigap is not easy and they do not even tell what criteria are considered before you apply. I do not want to give my medical records left and right unless I know I am approved. Can I switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another without all these hassles to move from Medicap to Medicare Advantage?

    EVB,
    You can switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap if you apply and are approved or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Your move would have most likely triggered a qualifying event for SEP, but since you enrolled in another Medicare Advantage policy, you most likely forfeited that right (depends on how long you have been enrolled in the new plan). With that said, we have many clients who are approved regardless of when they apply -however, you will not know if you're approved until after you apply.

    You definitely can switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Advantage plan during Medicare's Annual Election Period, or if you move to a MA plan that has a 5-star rating.

    For help with enrolling in a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
    -Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Mary on November 14, 2016

    I am 65 and signed up for a medigap N plan because there were no Medicare advantage plans that were available that covered my doctors this year. Now for next year there is an advantage plan. However if I switch to an advantage plan and then decide next year to switch back to medigap will I face potential issues such as increased premiums or acceptance at all into the plan? Can the medigap plan I have now refuse to take me back as a customer? Thanks

    Mary,
    There is a Medigap trial right that allows you to switch back to your old Medigap from a Medicare Advantage plan in your first year of enrollment. For further help, contact one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
    -Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Susan on October 08, 2016

    Hello, I was new to medicare July of this year. I am currently on a plan G which is not bad, but wanted to look into the Advantage plan for 2017 due to the $0 premiums in my area. I am fairly healthy and only have one generic maintenance prescription for my thyroid issue. When I did the math, I would save using the Advantage plan over the Medigap plan. My questions are: 1. How hard will it be to switch back to a Medigap plan in 2018 if health issues happen to change? 2. What kind of questions would be asked? 3. Is there a chance that I would not be approved? 4. If I was approved, would rates be increased? 5. What are your recommendations?

    Susan,
    If you were to switch from a Medigap plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, you should have a trial right to switch back within the first year, without having to answer medical questions -as long as you have never been enrolled in an MA plan before. If you were to miss this window, you could be denied or charged more if you have preexisting conditions. Finally, each company asks different questions, so we wouldn't be able to give you an example of the questions until you're ready to enroll (as they can change at anytime during the year).

    We can help you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan now or Medigap plan down the line. Contact a Senior65 licensed independent insurance agent at 800-930-7956.
    -Eric from https://www.senior65.com/


    By sandy o on June 29, 2016

    Does any agency keep a record of complaints about medigap companies? How can I find out if people are happy or not with their provider for say the Plan F High Deductible? I cannot afford Plan F - do you recommend another plan over going with the HD Plan F

    Sandy,
    Medigap plans are federally standardized, therefore, they are not rated by Medicare the way that Medicare Advantage plans are.

    For your question about High F, you will want to shop based on price and how the plan raises its rate. With that said, High F is a great plan if you're healthy, if not, it will cost you more than traditional F. Our suggestion would be to consider Plan N or Medigap Plan G, if you want to stay within a budget both in your monthly costs and your out of pocket spending. Get a Medigap quote here or call one of our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956 to learn more about Medigap plans.
    -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


    By marsha sargeant on July 18, 2015

    I live in the state of Georgia how does medical advantage plans work here?

    Marsha,
    Each Medicare Advantage plan varies from provider to provider, and state to state. The one commonality is that they have to cover everything that Original Medicare covers (although it can vary they way each plan covers it) and it has a maximum out of pocket. Please call us at 800-930-7956 to help find which is the best Medicare Advantage plan in your area.
    -Eric from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Candace R. on July 16, 2015

    Are you saying that no one should start with Medicare Advantage?? What about those of us who are on a fixed income and cannot afford Medigap?

    Candace,
    Not at all! We understand that Medigap is not affordable for many people, and that Medicare Advantage is a great option because of the extras and that it limits your out of pocket maximum. We are only suggesting that if you can afford it from the start it may be a smart move to start with Medigap and then move to Medicare Advantage if they find they are not using the services. Hope this explains it better. And, thank you for your question.
    -Jacima from https://www.senior65.com/


    By Bobbie on July 09, 2015

    I've looked into both medigap and Medicare advantage and with medigap F you only pay your premium, but Medicare advantage I usually don't have a premium but could pay up to almost 7k a year AND none of my doctors are in network. Why would I want med adv?

    Bobbie,
    Thank you for your question. Some people choose Medicare Advantage because it does limit your out of pocket spending (Original Medicare does not put a cap on that), its $0 to low monthly premium, and some plans add extras like drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing. But, if you can afford Medigap, most of clients find that Medigap gives them more financial protection, so they may not want to switch to an MA plan. Hope this helps.
    -Amy from https://www.senior65.com/



    Have a question not answered above??? Click here

    PLEASE NOTE: We cannot comment on specific Medicare claims. Contact Medicare directly if you are trying to see if your issue is covered.


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