What is the Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Free Look Period?

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Want to try out a new Medicare Supplement Plan? You can have two Medigap policies for a month while you decide which one is best for you. Read on to learn more about Medicare’s free look period.

What Is the Medicare Supplement Free Look Period?

If you are considering changing your Medicare Supplement Plan but are unsure which plan to keep, you can take advantage of the Medicare free look period. This period allows you to hold two Medigap policies for up to 30 days while deciding which side of the fence is best for you.

However, the Medicare Supplement free look period is not cost-free. While you hold two policies, you’ll have to pay the premiums for both. And be sure you never drop your current plan until your application for the new policy is accepted and you are sure which policy you would like to keep.

What You Can Do During the Medicare Supplement Free Look Period

  • File an application for a different Medicare Supplement policy from your current provider or any other provider servicing your area.
  • Check your eligibility for the new policy. Unless you are in a Medicare Supplement guaranteed issue period, you will be subject to underwriting. Only a few states, including California, Washington, Oregon, and Missouri, allow the change from one Medicare Supplement plan to another without underwriting.
  • Try out the new policy for a 30-day period without losing your current coverage.

What You Can’t Do During the Medicare Supplement Free Look Period

  • Be guaranteed acceptance for the new policy unless you are in a Medicare Supplement guaranteed issue period.
  • Drop your original policy and be guaranteed you can reinstate it. Even if you are allowed to reinstate a dropped policy, it may come with an increased premium.
  • Use the Medicare Supplement free look period to change to other types of coverage. You can only change from one Medicare Supplement Plan or carrier to another.

Do All Medicare Supplement Plans Offer a Free Look Period?

Only Medicare Supplement Plans with new enrollment offer a free look period, and you must be eligible for the plan. All Medicare Supplement Plans are not available for new enrollment. Plans F and C stopped availability for anyone who turned 65 after Jan. 1, 2020. Not all Medicare Supplement Plans are available in all geographical areas of the country. However, the free look period extends to all carriers and all plans available in your area and coverage group.

How Do You Switch Medicare Supplement Plans During the Free Look Period?

The Medicare Supplement free look period is not a guaranteed issue period nor an OEP. However, you can use the free look period with either of these enrollment opportunities. You must apply for the new Medicare Supplement policy and request a start date.

Once the application is approved and your new policy is in force, your 30-day free look period begins. You can continue to carry both policies while making use of the new benefits. At the end of the free look period, you simply notify whichever carrier you have decided to disenroll from.

Can You Switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan During the Free Look Period?

No. The Medicare Supplement free look period is true to its title. It can only be used for comparing Medicare Supplement policies and will not extend to other types of coverage. You are not allowed to keep a Medicare Supplement Plan once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

However, Medicare Advantage Plans have a trial rights period.

  • If you leave a Medicare Supplement Plan to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, elect the Medicare Advantage trial rights SEP.
  • If you’re dissatisfied before the year is over, you can switch back to Original Medicare and buy a Medicare Supplement Plan without medical underwriting.

How Do You Change Medicare Supplement Plans Outside of the Free Look Period?

The Medicare Supplement free look period can happen any time, as it is not an enrollment period. It is simply the opportunity to compare coverage and usage of two Medicare Supplement Plans for a period of 30 days with no obligation to either plan. All enrollment period and underwriting criteria must be followed while using the free look period. Learn detailed information on Medicare Supplement enrollment.

Medicare Supplement Plans don’t have annual enrollment periods, so when you apply is very important. You may have a guaranteed issue right, which means an insurance company can’t refuse to sell you a Medigap policy, based on life-impacting circumstances. Research the mitigating circumstances leading to Medicare Supplement guaranteed issue rights.

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Medicare consultant

Ron Elledge is an accomplished Medicare agent, planner, and author. Elledge earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible theology from International Seminary and spent 30 years in pastoral ministry. He began his current career in insurance with a specialty in Medicare in 2008 and has since authored “Medicare Made Easy: What Expats, Frequent Travelers and You Need to Know” and is often a featured speaker at the International Living conferences. Elledge is a contributor to International Living, supporting Medicare beneficiaries with articles, podcasts, and Q&As.

A licensed seniors market insurance agent in Arizona and New Mexico, Elledge has helped thousands decipher the intricacies of Medicare rules and regulations, enabling them to make educated selections for their health care needs. As a world traveler with his wife, Shelli, Elledge specializes in Medicare for expats and frequent travelers. He’s up to date with Medicare regulations, coverage options, and enrollment protocols and is fervent in his resolve to present trustworthy data on this confusing and often maligned program.

“By obtaining dependable details on how to read their Medicare options, recipients can plan for it correctly and make the best choices,” says Elledge. “These choices often make a huge financial and emotional difference in their futures. When Medicare is correctly utilized, it becomes a powerful financial and medical tool for all who qualify.”

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