How Do Trial Rights Affect Me?

How Do Trial Rights Affect Me?

In most cases, the Medicare plan you enroll in during Open Enrollment or during your Initial Enrollment Period is the plan you will keep for the coming year. There are a handful of exceptions to this rule, and one involves your right to try (hence the term “trial rights”) a Medicare Advantage plan and then switch to a Medicare Supplement plan within 12 months. In short, a Trial Right gives you the opportunity to move from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement plan without going through medical underwriting.

What is Medical Underwriting?

In order to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, usually you must pass through a process known as “medical underwriting.” You are required to answer medical questions about your health history and may be denied if you have certain preexisting conditions. This process only applies to Medicare Supplements, not Medicare Advantage plans.

There are certain times when you are permitted to buy a Medicare Supplement without going through medical underwriting:

  • When you first become eligible (Medigap Open Enrollment)
  • Guaranteed Issue situations (such as moving away from your previous plan’s service area)
  • Trial Right situations

How Do I Qualify for a Trial Right?

There are two types of Trial Right situations, but they both revolve around one basic concept: you are “trying” a Medicare Advantage plan and then going back to a Medicare Supplement plan.

  1. You try a Medicare Advantage plan when you first become eligible and turn 65. In this situation, the start dates of your Medicare Advantage plan, your parts A and B effective dates, and the month you turn 65 must all match up. You are allowed to switch to a Medicare Supplement plan within the first year that you are trying the Medicare Advantage plan.
  2. You have been on a Medicare Supplement plan since you first became eligible and then try out a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time. You are allowed to go back to the same Medicare Supplement plan you had within the first year on the Medicare Advantage plan.

Do You Have Questions?

If you think you may qualify or if you have questions, please reach out to us at 1-877-222-1942 or

If you are not a RetireMED®iQ client yet and have questions about retirement or Medicare, please contact us at 1-866-600-5638 or to get started on your Medicare journey.

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