WHEN CAN YOU CHANGE MEDICARE PLANS?
Did you know that the “Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period” that occurs each year does not apply to Medicare Supplements! Unfortunately the way Medicare annual open enrollment is publicized, makes it seem like all Medicare products must be changed during open enrollment. It may have been more accurate to have called it the Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Plan open enrollment period.
If you currently have a Medicare Supplement, other credible coverage like an employer group sponsored health plan or even just Medicare Parts A and B, don’t wait any longer to see if you qualify to change your Medicare Supplement. Find out now and start saving money on your premiums. Keep in mind that you must have Medicare parts A and B to purchase a Medicare Supplement.
You can Change Medicare Supplements any time of the year but changing from a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Supplement after the Annual Enrollment can be confusing
You can drop a Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a Medicare Supplement anytime of the year. Be very careful because you can only pick up the Medicare part D Drug coverage under certain conditions. We do not advise any of our clients to make a change like this unless the will also be able to get the prescription coverage or have separate medication coverage through the VA or an employer.
Simple Steps to ensure you do this without risking your existing coverage
Apply for the Medicare Supplement (Medigap) company and policy you would like to as soon as possible. This is for people who are coming off of a Medicare Advantage Plan. Check out the Best Medicare Supplements, call or fill out the Customized Quote form to check out plans and prices.
- Ask for an effective date of February 1st, March 1st or April 1st. The only way this works well is with a clean change, and the earliest you can have a drug plan to go along with your Medicare Supplement is for a February 1 effective date.
- After you have applied for the supplement, you should wait to see if you are approved before you do anything else. This could take anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks depending on the company and how busy they are. In the mean time do not cancel your Medicare Advantage plan.
- Once your Medicare Supplement has been approved, call 1-800-Medicare to enroll in a drug plan. When you enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan it will automatically cancel your Medicare Advantage plan. Doing this directly through Medicare over the phone is simple, quick and easy. It’s also is a safer way to avoid paperwork mistakes with the dis-enrollment process.
If you don’t have time to apply and get approved for the Medicare Supplement by February 1, then you can apply for the Medicare supplement to be effective for March 1 or April, but you must enroll in the drug plan NO LATER THAN March 31. You are taking a risk if you enroll in the PDP Drug plan before you have a supplement. When you enroll in a drug plan, it will automatically kick you off your existing Medicare Advantage plan. If you don’t have enough time to secure a supplement, you may want to wait until next year’s open enrollment.
Consequences of not waiting for your Medicare supplement approval can be devastating. If you get declined for the Supplement, and you already cancelled your Medicare Advantage, then you will only have Original Medicare Parts A and B for your Medical Care and will have to pay all costs that Medicare does not cover. If you dis-enrolled by enrolling in a drug plan, then you will at least have the Medicare Part D drug coverage. If this happened to you call us to see if we can help you resolve the problem.
Don’t try to do this on your own. Make sure you have an experienced independent agent help you make the right decisions and apply for the best plan and in the appropriate manner to ensure you have no break in coverage. Call now or send the customized quote form.
If you currently have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement, there are very special circumstances that apply. For example, if you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan within the last twelve months and this was the first time you were ever in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can drop the Medicare Advantage and go back to original Medicare and add a Supplement anytime during the first 12 months.
If you tried the Medicare Advantage and don’t like it, you can go back to your previous Medicare Supplement company for any reason. You will not have to pass any health questions and they cannot deny you if you meet the guidelines. If your previous Medicare Supplement company is still available, you will only be allowed to get the same plan and company back that you had before you joined the Medicare Advantage plan.
Making a change after the Annual Enrollment if you are not eligible for Trial Period
If you missed that December 7th deadline, there is another period of time each year that you can dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan or change to a different company/plan. You can also apply for a supplement and pick up a Medicare Part D drug plan. This period is called the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period and it runs from January 1st through March 31 of each year.