- medicareresources.org Editor
- January 1, 2018
- If you didn’t sign up for Medicare A and B when you were first eligible, you can enroll between January 1 and March 31, with coverage effective July 1, but you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty. (For Medicare Part B, the penalty is an additional 10 percent of the premium for each 12-month period that you were eligible but not enrolled, and did not have other creditable coverage in place.)
- There are several ways to leave Medicare Advantage, including the annual Medicare Advantage disenrollment period – which runs from January 1 to February 14 each year.
- You can apply for a Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) plan at any time during the year. If you’re within the six-month open enrollment window that begins when you turn 65, the coverage is guaranteed issue. That is also the case if you’re in a special enrollment period triggered by a qualifying event.
- You can still apply for a Medigap plan outside of open/special enrollment periods – though carriers will use medical underwriting to determine whether to accept your application, and how much to charge you.
- From December 8 through November 30 each year – you can actually switch to a new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan – if you enroll in a plan in your area that has earned the government’s five-star (excellent) rating. (A list of plans that received the five-star rating for 2018 is available here; more data from CSM is available here).
For a thorough overview of the changes you can make to your coverage, read How do I change my Medicare coverage?
Knowing your coverage options is critical
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Ready or not, you can always learn more right here. The articles on this site are authored by a team of veteran healthcare writers who know the health insurance industry, understand the political battles over healthcare – and, most importantly, who know the needs of consumers.
In these pages, you can tap into an extensive collection of resources, including:
- overview of Medicare’s plan options and benefits, from physical therapy to hospital beds and hospice care;
- explanations of when you can – and can’t – change your Medicare coverage
- an explanation of the gaps in Medicare’s coverage
- eligibility and enrollment guidelines;
- a glossary of Medicare terms;
- answers to the most frequently asked questions;
- links to dozens of resources, including providers and plans that are right for your needs.
We hope you’ll find the answers to all your burning questions. If you can’t, please don’t hesitate to send us your questions.