There are many people who are confused by a complicated system on when they can enroll in the different Medicare plans. Let's see if we can add a little clarity to the different "enrollment periods".
Annual Election Period (AEP):
The Annual Election Period runs from October 15th to December 7th each year. This time is for those that want to change or enroll in a Medicare prescription plan or want to change or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period:
The Disenrollment period runs from January 1st to February 14th each year. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B).
Medigap Open Enrollment:
This is the six-month period that starts on the first day of the month that you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Throughout this period, you can enroll in any Medigap plan offered in your area with guaranteed issue. This means that insurance companies aren't allowed to use your medical history or pre-existing conditions as the basis for charging you more for coverage or denying you altogether. If you have medical issues or disabilities, it's especially important to take advantage of this period.
Although there are advantages to enrolling in a Medicare Supplement (aka Medigap) plan during Open Enrollment, you may change or enroll in a Medigap plan any time throughout the year. Depending on your age and situation your application may go through underwriting and you will be subject to the insurance company's underwriting guidelines.
We hope this helps you to navigate the various enrollment periods to ensure you get the right coverage at the right time.
-Tom Andersen, Sales Manager