When you first enroll in Medicare, you are in a special period known as your initial enrollment period. The initial enrollment period takes place at one of two times: 1) three months before you turn 65 to three months after you have turned 65 or 2) when you first start your Medicare Part B. During your initial enrollment, you are able to select ANY Medicare Supplement plan without being subject to any medical tests or questionnaires. During this period, it is absolutely essential to enroll in the correct Medicare Supplement, because if you would like to switch later on, you will be subject to health screening. This means that, when selecting a supplement for the first time, you should choose a company that has low monthly premiums, and a history of low rate increases.
If you currently have a Medicare Supplement and are looking to change your plan, you will only able to switch plans by going through a process called underwriting. In regard to Medicare Supplements, underwriting simply means that you will need to answer several health questions before the switch to a different plan can be approved. Because of this, it is important to stress that not everyone will be allowed to switch due to their current health situation. For example, if you have had a recent stroke, heart attack, major surgery, or if you have cancer, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes with complications, most companies will not allow you to switch Medicare Supplements.