One of the most common mistakes that many who enroll on Medicare make with Medicare Supplement insurance is the belief that there is an annual open enrollment period. This is simply not the case. Many seniors believe that there is an annual period, and this is the only time of the year when you can sign up for supplements or change your current plan. However, you can change plans at any time when it comes to Medigap plans – there is no set registration period.
One of the main reasons why many people are wrong is that there is an annual filing period for Medicare Part D (prescription) and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), often mistakenly referred to as Medicare supplementation. It’s not really a Medicare Supplement plan. For these types of plans, Medicare Part D and Medicare Part C, the filing period is currently November 15 and December 31 of each year.
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Still, the end of the year is still an excellent time to review your Medigap coverage and make any necessary changes. Medigap coverage does not change annually, unlike Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. Plan coverage is the same over time; however, their rates can change annually. Some companies change prices based on age of beneficiary (this usually happens around your birthday), other companies change prices annually, and other companies change prices on your anniversary of your policy. In any case, it is very likely that as your price changes, you can switch to an equivalent plan from another company and save money on your coverage.
The best time for any of these types of insurance plans is usually when you are about 3 months from 65. This will ensure that sufficient time to get the plan, your ID cards in the mail, and have your doctor selected. Although with Medigap insurance you can visit any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare.
Medicare supplements offer better coverage of medical services and a larger network. Many Medicare supplements cover most or all of your gaps in Medicare and typically cost less than $ 150 / month in most states and your network is the Medicare network, which is a fairly extensive statewide network of medical facilities that Medicare accept. When a doctor takes Medicare, he usually takes your Medicare plan (regardless of the company you bought it from). Your Medicare Part A & B are still your primary cover. So, Medicare still makes the decision as to whether its medical expenses are covered and the supplement only has to pay the difference.
It is advisable to re-evaluate your Medicare supplement / Medigap coverage at least every two years as insurance is a rapidly changing field in which you need to be aware of current rates and trends. Medicare supplement rates have fallen in many areas of the country over the past year as new companies hit the market and new plans have been released (Medigap Plan N).
Finally, although you do not need to reassess your plan during the upcoming annual filing phase, now is a good time to do so.