The answer to this question depends on the type of Medicare plan you are enrolled in. There are three different scenarios based on the type of Medicare plan you select.
- Original Medicare Part A & Part B
Outside of your initial open enrollment period, when you first turn 65 or become eligible for Medicare, there is an annual General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1st through March 31st every year. During this time, you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t sign up when you were first eligible, and you aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Medicare Supplemental (Medigap)
You can change Medicare Supplement plans anytime during the year. However, if you make a change outside your 6-month Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, in most cases, you will have to go through medical underwriting. Depending on your health conditions, this could mean higher rates or being declined altogether. It is essential if you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan to understand if you will be eligible for a new plan or what the costs may be before you disenroll from your current plan.
- Medicare Advantage & Part D
In general, if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you can only change plans once a year during the Annual Election Period (AEP), which runs from October 15th through December 7th. You may be able to change plans outside this enrollment period if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You can also make one change during Open Enrollment, which runs from January 1st through March 31st if you selected the wrong plan during AEP.