Can I Switch Medicare Supplemental Plans?

If you qualify for Medicare Part A hospital benefits and Medicare Part B outpatient medical benefits, you may also qualify for a Medicare supplemental plan. Two main types of Medicare supplemental plans are available: Part D prescription drug plans and Medigap plans. Part D plans provide prescription drug coverage which is not available under Medicare Part A or B. Medigap provides coverage for gaps in Medicare Part A and B coverage, such as coverage that exceeds certain maximums or services that are not fully covered.


Eligibility for Medicare supplemental plans is simple: you must be eligible for Medicare. Medicare eligibility requires that you either be disabled by Social Security Administration standards and qualify medically for Social Security disability or be over the age of 65.


Medicare supplemental plans are provided by private insurance companies, including United Healthcare, AARP, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana and more. These plans must follow rules set forth by Medicare.


The cost of Medicare supplemental plans varies significantly, since each provider sets its own rates. Depending on the level of coverage and your needs, premiums for plans vary from free to over $100 per month. However, the individual is not responsible for the total cost of the plan, since the plans are subsidized–the federal government pays a significant portion of the total plan’s cost.


You may enroll in Medicare supplemental plans at any time and you may request to switch plans at any time. However, if you enroll or switch plans outside of the open enrollment period, you may be penalized. Your premiums, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with the plan may be higher. Your initial enrollment period is dependent upon when you first became eligible for Medicare. Open enroillment typically takes place between November and January but may be longer depending on your specific circumstances. You may enroll in Medicare supplemental plans at

7 Responses to “Can I Switch Medicare Supplemental Plans?”

  1. Ralph says:

    This website is horrible and full of false statements. Individuals can change medicare supplement plans anytime they want. If out of a guaranteed issue medical underwriting will be required to qualify.

    Medicare supplements are a completely different program then Medicare advantage.
    I can’t believe this garbage advice is posted.

  2. E Fleenor says:

    I agree with Ralph.
    1. Medicare supplementl insurance, also known as Medigap is NOT subsidized. Its private insurance. Individuals ARE responsible for the full cost of the plan.
    2. There is no “free” supplemental insurance [Medigap] and prices can exceed $200/mo.
    3. Open enrollment between Nov & Jan does not apply to supplemental insurance [Medigap].
    The article seems to be confusing it with Medicare Advantage [Part C] insurance.

  3. Xylie says:

    True,I got a advantage plan 4 yrs ago and thought it was a supplement.2 yrs later after thinking I was still on original medicare,I found out I wasn’t.I was charged $30.00 2 yrs in a row for a flu shot that should of been free.Anyway,I switched back to original medicare,and just now am getting a medigap policy because I ended up in the hosp. 3 weeks ago,and got a $24,000 bill.I got to pay my $20% plus the $140,plus the $1,150 part A.NEVER AGAIN!And NO,medigaps aren’t FREE.I can’t afford it,but now can’t afford to be without it.I could of pd yrs in premiums on this hosp bill alone.1st time in my whole life I ever had to go to a hosp for 3 days.I was really Ill due to they found a giant ulcer,and kidney stones caused by my medications I was taking,not for health reasons.

  4. Dan B. says:

    The answer is confusing as a result of the author lumping together Medicare Supplement plans and Part D Rx coverage under the general description “Medicare supplemental plans”. Medicare Supplement plans can be purchased, switched or dropped at any time, but underwriting for health issues will determine eligibility if purchased other than during an “open enrollment” or “guarantee issue” period. Part D Rx plans (and Part C Medicare Advantage) can only be purchased or dropped during certain times of the year, in addition to any open enrollment or guarantee issue periods that apply.

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