In 2013 in Oregon the Insurance Division instituted a new rule that may impact the ability to change supplement plans with a guaranteed issue. This will be a blessing for people who have wanted to change supplement plans but have health issues that prevent acceptance by insurance companies.
By law insurance companies have to operate at a profit. Because they will have to accept people who have medical issues, the companies will have to increase premium costs for all the policy holders in Oregon to offset the cost of extra medical services.
A good example is someone who signs up for a supplement plan when they first turn 65. Each year the monthly premium goes up and it appears that supplement plan is not the bargain expected, but in the interval, cancer, stroke, or heart problems come up that preclude a medical underwriting, and the person is stuck in the original plan.
Keep in mind that all insurance companies must offer the same coverage for Medicare Supplement plans, but they can charge different premiums and can also offer some additional benefits. In shopping for these Medigap plans the monthly premium difference can be anywhere from $20 to $50 or more difference in cost for the same coverage.
Starting in 2013 you have the option during the month of your birthday to have a guaranteed issue chance to change your supplement plan no matter what your health situation is. There is a hook of course; you can go to the same type of coverage plan or a plan with lesser coverage. You cannot upgrade to a more comprehensive plan. For instance, if you started out with a Plan N and want to move to a Plan F, it is not a guaranteed issue. On the other hand, if you want to move from a Plan F to a Plan N, that will work. The main thing is that you can move to a different company if you find a less expensive monthly premium.
Advantage plans are cheaper in monthly premium, but you want to weigh the out of pocket costs against the supplement plan. Think twice before leaping out of the supplement into an advantage plan because you might regret the move and not be able to get back into a supplement.