I get this question a lot when people are turning 65 and they aren’t sure what they want to do. They want to make sure they can make changes down the road if they need to. Well…here’s the skinny….
Open enrollment is October 15th to December 7th of each year. However, it only affects when you can look for Part D Plans (that’s the stand alone pharmacy benefit) and Medicare Advantage Plans. If you want to switch from an Advantage plan back to traditional Medicare that is generally the best time to do it (there are a few other limited times when you can switch back as well).
What isn’t affected by the open enrollment period is when you can get a Medicare supplement, get a dental plan or a vision plan, life insurance, etc. Open enrollment only pertains to your part D plan (if you have one) or your Medicare Advantage plan (if you have one).
You can shop for a Medicare supplement (also known as Medi-gap) 12 months a year. You can get dental coverage 12 months a year. To top it off you are not locked into these insurance policies. Let’s say you are turning 65. If you work with another agent and sign up for a Medicare Supplement “F” and are paying $147 a month (you did this with someone else) and you find me later that same week (or the next month, or 3 months down the pike) I can sign you up for another company that will also do a “F” supplement for maybe $105.50 a month. You can switch supplements any time you want. Now there will be health questions, but the point is you are not locked into the fall open enrollment period to do that.
Now you know.