The Open Enrollment Period does not apply to Medicare Supplements. You are permitted to purchase this type of insurance or make changes to your Medicare Supplement at any time throughout the year.
To be clear, a Medicare Supplement, sometimes referred to as Medigap Insurance, is not the same as a Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans are plans that provide Medicare benefits while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits. It helps pay some of the health care costs not covered by Original Medicare such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Medicare Supplements generally do not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.
You will pay a separate premium in addition to your Medicare premiums and you will also need to purchase a separate Prescription Part D plan as this coverage is not usually included with these plans.
The best time to buy a Supplement policy is during your 6-month Medicare Supplement open enrollment period. During that time you can buy any policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems. This period automatically starts the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). After this enrollment period, if you are able to buy one, it may cost more.
You cannot have a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement. In fact, it is illegal for anyone to sell you a Medicare Supplement policy unless you’re switching back to Original Medicare.
If you are interested in learning more about Medicare Supplements, please contact me after January 1 when information on new rates should be available.