Under California law, you have the right to purchase certain Medigap plans following 2 other events. Each has a different time limit in which to exercise your rights.
1. Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan Terminates Coverage in Your Area
You have the right to purchase Medigap plans A, B, D, G (including the high deductible plan G), K, L, M or N if your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan leaves your area. If you had your 65th birthday before January 1, 2020, or if you are younger than 65 and became eligible for Medicare due to a disability before January 1, 2020, you can also buy Medigap Plans C, F, or high deductible F. You can apply anytime after the MA plan notifies you, but in order to get a guaranteed-issue Medigap policy, you must apply within 123 days of the end of your MA plan benefits.
2. 60-Day Period Starting on Your Birthday
You have the right to purchase certain Medigap plans each year for the 60-day period starting on your birthday. You must have a current Medigap plan to exercise this right. You can choose a plan from any company, but you are limited to one that has the same or fewer benefits than your current plan. For example, if you already have Plan C, you may switch to another Plan C, but not to a Plan G. Note that companies can offer you a plan with more benefits if they choose, but they are not required to do so.
Also, additional or “innovative benefits” that some companies add to one or more of the standardized Medigap plans may not be consider greater benefits than the same lettered plan without those “innovative benefits”.
If you have an old plan or one that is no longer sold (for example, plans E, H, I and J are no longer sold due to changes in federal law), you can choose as follows:
- Plans A, B, C, D, or F can all be replaced with the same lettered plan
- Plans E and H can be replaced with Plan D
- Plan I can be replaced with Plan G
- Plan J can be replaced with Plan F (if you became eligible for Medicare before 1/1/2020) or Plan G (if you became eligible for Medicare on or after 1/1/2020)
- High deductible plans F and J can only be replaced with high deductible Plan F
Also, not all companies sell every kind of plan. If you’re set on buying from a particular company, you can only choose from the types of policies they have available.