The Medicare enrollment period lasts from October 15 through December 7. This is also called the Annual Election Period, during which you can elect which Part D plan you are going to have for the following year. The enrollment period also applies to Medicare Advantage plans. It does not, however, apply to Medigap or Medicare Supplement plans contrary to popular misconception.
Now that the enrollment period has come and gone, what changes can you make to your coverage? If you have a Medigap plan, you can easily change into another Medigap plan, as long as you are in relatively good health. If you are on a Medicare replacement plan now (i.e. Medicare Advantage), you have until February 14 to “get out” of that plan and return to Medicare with a Part D prescription drug plan. In doing so, you can also pick up a Medicare Supplement plan to fill in the gaps in Medicare.
After February 14, you will be locked in, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, to whatever plan you have for the remainder of the calendar year.
If, however, you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you can change plans at any time, for any reason, as long as you can meet the new plans medical criteria. There are some exceptions to this if you are still within your initial open enrollment period (6 months from the time you go on Medicare Part B or turn 65) or in some states, which mandate additional open enrollment periods. But generally speaking, as long as you can qualify medically, you can change Medicare Supplement plans.
Additionally, all Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, so they all provide the same coverage. It is easy to compare based on the rates of the various plans. For example, if you have a Plan F, you can switch to any other Plan F and expect the plan to work the exact same way and provide the exact same coverage. Rates for Medicare Supplement plans do vary greatly so this is essential to do on at least a bi-annual basis.
If you have any questions about this information or wish to compare the Medigap plans in an unbiased and centralized way, please call us at 877.506.3378 or contact us on our Medigap quotes page.