Because there are certain waiting periods to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, one should be aware of the periods of time when one can enroll, or if already enrolled, change their insurance provider. Supplemental insurance covers any gap in the Medicare coverage and will help cover prescription or other costs, so coverage is needed quite soon after beginning Medicare.
When looking around at a plan, one needs to ask about how soon enrollment and coverage can begin. Most likely the plan that will allow immediate coverage will be preferred. In some cases, coverage begins the beginning of the following month. Other providers may have a waiting period before coverage begins, leaving one without a Medicare Supplement, and open to unplanned medical or drug costs. For example, a woman of 65 who has just begun enrollment in Medicare Part A and B in March, waits until April to find a Medicare Supplement. She chooses a supplement plan that has a a one month waiting period for coverage of benefits. She then needs a prescription filled and has no coverage until June 1st. In this case, she will have to pay for the prescription with out of pocket money. She would have been in a better position if she had enrolled in a Medicare Supplement at the time of her enrollment in Medicare or soon after.
Many seniors think that that November 15th through December 31st is the only time that one can change a Medicare Supplement Plan; This is not the case, as Medicare Supplement insurance can be changed at any time of the year. Changing providers, however, should take place during this period.
Timely enrolling in a Medicare Supplement Plan means asking some questions.