The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is not an annual period. It is the six month period of time that begins when an individual turns 65 years old or gets Medicare Part B for the first time. During this time, an individual may not be turned down for a Medicare Supplement, regardless of health. For example, if your birthday is September 30, 1954, then you complete 65 years on 30 September, 2019. You can enroll on the first day of the month that you turn 65, which, in this case, is 1 September, 2019 and the period of enrollment remains open till 1 March, 2020.
If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Supplement and decide that you would like to change your coverage, you can do so at any time. There is no set Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period in Texas. This means that if you would like to change your supplement, in most cases, you will have to go through an underwriting process to make sure that you qualify for a new Medigap Plan. A good licensed insurance broker can help you determine whether or not you would qualify for a new plan.
Most Supplement Carriers will approve or decline your application based on your health but there are a few that could offer you more options. These other options typically cost more but could be well worth it, especially if you’re already receiving care.
There are a few other scenarios when an individual can enroll in a Medicare Supplement without having to go through underwriting. These are called Guaranteed issue rights. Here are the seven guaranteed issue exceptions taken from medicare.gov:
You’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), and your plan is leaving Medicare or stops giving care in your area, or you move out of the plan’s service area.
You have Original Medicare and an employer group health plan (including retiree or COBRA coverage) or union coverage that pays after Medicare pays and that plan is ending.
You have Original Medicare and a Medicare SELECT policy. You move out of the Medicare SELECT policy’s service area.
(Trial Right) You joined a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A at 65, and within the first year of joining, you decide you want to switch to Original Medicare.
(Trial right) You dropped a Medigap policy to join a Medicare Advantage Plan (or to switch to a Medicare SELECT policy) for the first time, you’ve been in the plan lessthan a year, and you want to switch back.
Your Medigap insurance company goes bankrupt and you lose your coverage, oryour Medigap policy coverage otherwise ends through no fault of your own.
You leave a Medicare Advantage Plan or drop a Medigap policy because the company hasn’t followed the rules, or it misled you.
There are some carriers in Texas that will allow you to enroll in their supplement at a higher rate, even if you have been diagnosed with more serious conditions such as Diabetes, Cancer and other conditions. This is why speaking with a Licensed Insurance Agent in Texas is so important.
It is best to purchase a good Medicare supplement plan during your initial Medicare Open Enrollment period so you can be sure that you will be approved regardless of pre-existing conditions.