Many seniors have the misconception that they can only change their Medicare Supplements once a year during the annual enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. The truth is that only Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription plans are restricted to the annual enrollment period when it comes to switching plans—you can switch from Medicare Supplement to Medicare Supplement at any time.
All Medicare Supplement programs are standardized by the government, meaning that plans must carry the same set of benefits from carrier to carrier. The only difference from carrier to carrier is how good the company’s customer service is, how quick they pay claims and how much they charge for their coverage.
Buying a Supplement is similar to buying gas for your car in some respects. Would you drive to the gas station across the street if it was $1.00 cheaper for the same gas? I’m guessing you would, and so would any smart consumer.
However, shopping for a supplement solely by premium can be dangerous too. As I stated above, seniors also need to consider the quality of the company as well. A supplement with a very low premium isn’t worth much if your carrier isn’t paying claims on time and as a result you’re getting bills that you aren’t supposed to.
If you’re thinking about making a switch, keep in mind that if you’re outside of your open enrollment, you will have to answer medical underwriting questions to qualify for new coverage. However, if you’re healthy enough, there’s no reason not to shop around and see if there is a different Medicare Supplement plan out there that will save you money.