WHAT TO DO IF MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN F IS CANCELED
When you apply for a Medigap plan, you likely expect to keep it forever. There are certain situations, however, in which you might have to choose a new plan.
If you find yourself in that position, you’ll need to know your rights and responsibilities. So, what should you do if your Medicare Supplement Plan F is canceled?
WHAT IS MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN F?
Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most comprehensive and most popular of the 10 Medigap plans. It’s more expensive, though, because it covers more of your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
If you choose Plan F for your Medicare Supplement insurance, you won’t have to pay for deductibles, coinsurance, or copayments for expenses related to doctor’s visits, getting blood drawn, staying in the hospital, or even needing skilled nursing care.
It’s rare for Medicare Supplement Plan F — or any Medigap plan, for that matter — to get canceled, but it can happen. Since you have a limited time frame during which to find alternative coverage, you’ll need to act quickly.
WHEN CAN MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT INSURANCE GET CANCELED?
There’s a short list of situations in which you might lose your Medicare Supplement Plan F insurance coverage. If this happens, you have remedies available so you don’t incur major healthcare expenses.
The following are the most common reasons for Medicare Supplement insurance to get canceled.
PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION
If, when applying for Medicare Supplement insurance, you provide false information to the insurance company, the insurance carrier can void your plan. For instance, if you’re not truthful about your tobacco usage or if you don’t disclose certain information about your health, the insurance company might decide to cancel your Medicare Supplement Plan F policy.
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this problem. When you fill out your application, make sure it’s completely accurate to the best of your knowledge. If your information changes, contact your insurance carrier to let them know so they can update your records.
Remember that omissions can get you in trouble, too. Being honest about your personal information will protect you in the long run so you can keep your insurance coverage.
BANKRUPTCY OR INSOLVENCY
An insurance company is a business just like any other. Occasionally, these companies go out of business because they declare bankruptcy or become insolvent. Should that happen, you’ll enjoy guaranteed-issue rights, which means that you can apply for another policy for 63 days after your coverage ends.
If you wait longer than 63 days, you could find yourself subject to underwriting. This means that the insurance company will take into account any pre-existing conditions or other health concerns. Research other Medicare Supplement insurance options as soon as you know your insurance company is going out of business.
FAILURE TO PAY
To keep your Medicare Supplement Plan F policy active, you must pay your monthly premium on time and in full. If you don’t, your insurance company can cancel your policy. Most insurance companies send delinquent notices to let you know that your coverage is in jeopardy.
Fortunately, many insurance companies will work with customers who encounter financial hardship. Instead of ignoring the problem, call your insurance carrier to discuss your options. Provide evidence of any hardship that might temporarily prevent you from paying your premium. You might be able to work out a special payment plan until you get your finances back under control.
NO GUARANTEED RENEWAL
If you bought your Medicare Supplement Plan F policy prior to 1992, you might not be covered by guaranteed renewal. In other words, your insurance company has the right to cancel your Medigap plan.
In this situation, you have guaranteed issue rights. You can buy another Medigap plan without penalty. You’ll need to hurry, though, because you have 63 days to apply for a new insurance policy without underwriting or the risk of denial.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MEDIGAP PLAN F GOES AWAY?
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 states that, after January 1, 2020, insurance companies can no longer offer any Medigap plan that covers the Original Medicare Part B deductible. On that date, insurance carriers cannot offer Medigap plans C and F.
If you already have Medicare Supplement Plan F, you can keep it. The act only affects new Original Medicare enrollees.
While the elimination of Medigap Plan F might seem like a bad thing, you can find a very close alternative in Medigap Plan G. The two plans are identical except that Plan G doesn’t cover the Part B deductible. It’s also less expensive.
DO YOU HAVE GUARANTEED-ISSUE RIGHTS?
If your Medicare Supplement Plan F policy gets canceled, you typically have guaranteed-issue rights as long as the loss wasn’t your fault. You can’t control whether an insurance company goes bankrupt or doesn’t have to abide by guaranteed renewal, so Medicare doesn’t punish beneficiaries in those situations.
However, if you lose your Medicare Supplement insurance because you didn’t pay your premium or because you provided false information, you probably won’t have guaranteed-issue rights. You can still apply for a new Medigap plan, but that insurance carrier can deny your coverage or charge you a greater premium.
While Medicare Supplement Plan F will be discontinued in 2020, your plan should not get canceled except in rare circumstances. If it happens, you have alternatives to regain coverage and avoid out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
Are you about to turn 65? If so, it’s time to start shopping for the Medicare Supplement insurance that will best fit your needs. Conduct some comparison shopping via the Medigap Quoter to get insurance quotes in your area.