The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Myth

Each year the myth grows stronger – the myth about Medicare’s annual enrollment period applying to Medicare Supplement plans. Most people, for one of several reasons that we will discuss later, believe that you can only change Medicare Supplement plans at a certain time of the year. Moreover, most believe that, during this time period, you can change without medical underwriting of any kind (i.e. no health questions). We intend to do our part, however small, to eliminate this incorrect thinking.

Put simply, you can change Medicare Supplement plans at any time of the year. There are no annual enrollment period that you must adhere to. However, when you do change, no matter what time of year it is, you do have to “qualify” medically in most situations. The exceptions to this are if you turning 65 or just going on Medicare, losing some other type of coverage, or moving out of your plan’s service area.

There are several significant factors that exacerbate this myth. The first and foremost factor is that there IS an annual enrollment period for some Medicare plans, including the Part D plans that are often paired with Medicare Supplement coverage. Also, Medicare replacement plans called Medicare Advantage plans have this same annual enrollment period. For these plans, you can only change, cancel or enroll in a plan during the AEP (Annual Election Period), which runs October 15 to December 7 each year.

The other related factor that causes this misconception is the glut of advertising associated with the aforementioned plans. These plans advertise leading up to and during the annual enrollment period, and this period is often referred to as the Medicare enrollment period. This leads many people to the conclusion that you can only change all types of Medicare coverage during this period.

Now, you certainly CAN change your Medicare Supplement during this end of year time period, but that is not the NOLY time that you can change your plan. It may, however, be a convenient time to re-evaluate your options since many people are re-evaluating their Part D Rx plans at this same time.

Comparing Medicare supplement plans is very easy to do. Since the plans are standardized and there are no restrictions on when you sign up for a plan, you can do this all online and at any time. If you want to compare your supplement plan options, give us a call at 877.506.3378 or contact us online at Medicare-Supplement.US.

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