11. Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

importantThe Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period begins on the first day of the month that you are enrolled in Medicare Part B. It lasts for 6 months. In order to join a Medicare supplement insurance plan you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.

There is no health screening during this period, so you cannot be denied coverage if you enroll during this time. You can still apply for a supplement plan after this time, but based on your current health condition and risks, you may be denied coverage or charged a higher premium.

In other words, an individual with a pre-existing health condition who enrolls in a supplement plan during this Open Enrollment Period, will be paying the same premiums as a perfectly healthy individual.

12. What Changes Can I Make To My Medicare Coverage During Open Enrollment?

medicare question2During the Open Enrollment Period you can make changes to your Medicare coverage. Here are your options:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to one that does.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that offers drug coverage to one that doesn’t.
  • Join a Medicare prescription drug plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to a different Medicare prescription drug plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

13. General Enrollment Period

march 31stThe General Enrollment Period is an period of time where those who did not elect to enroll into Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period can enroll. It runs every year from January 1st through March 31st.

14. Special Enrollment Period

special-enrollment-periodThere are a few situations in which you may be able to enroll into Medicare outside of the Initial Enrollment Period or the Open Enrollment Period. These include major changes in your life such as:

You retire and leave a health care plan that you had enrolled in through your employer or a union.

You relocate outside of the service area of your current health plan.

15. Initial Enrollment Period

Health benefit election formThe Initial Enrollment Period is your first opportunity to enroll into Medicare. It is the three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and the three months following your birthday.

If you enroll before your 65th birthday, your coverage begins on the first day of your birth month.

For example, if your birthday is July 27th, and you enroll into Medicare for the first time in the May preceding your 65th birthday, your coverage will go into effect on July 1st.

If you enroll in the month where your birthday falls or later, your coverage will begin the first day of the following month.

For example, if your birthday is July 27th, and you enroll into Medicare for the first time on July 17th, your coverage will go into effect on August 1st.