My father taught me to golf when I was a teen. When I didn’t connect well on a tee shot, he would ask if I wanted to take a Mulligan. I had no idea what that meant at first, but most golfers know it as a “Do-Over,” a second chance at that stroke. Dad would only allow one per round, though, so you had to make sure you really wanted to use it.

When you first enroll in Medicare, you can choose just about any type of Medicare plan you want. From Medicare Supplement plans, drug plans and Advantage plans, there are very few limitations. Many choose an Advantage plan, attracted to the low premiums, and low out of pocket costs. Who doesn’t want to save money? But once you choose your coverage, you may be stuck with that type of plan for the foreseeable future, unless you have a Special Enrollment period or, a “Mulligan”.

Within the first year of your Medicare Advantage plan, if you decide you are not happy with that plan, you have a one-time chance to re-select your coverage. There are some limitations, and it must be within that first year. But Medicare will allow a mulligan on your plan selection within that first 12 months of Medicare enrollment.

This is very important because, far too often, we meet people who, because they are healthy, have never really utilized their health insurance plan. Then, after a few years, they have some health issues and find their plan does not suit their needs. They really don’t like to hear they are now in a “lock in period.” Stuck in that plan until the next Annual Enrollment window or, subject to health underwriting and denial for pre-existing conditions.

So choose wisely at your initial enrollment, when you first enroll in Medicare and explore the coverage of your health plan in that first year. If you ae not happy with it, you might just take a mulligan.

Back on the golf course, I took a mulligan a little too often. Dad never seemed to need one.

This is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. Randy Foulds of Foulds & Feldmann Insurance Agency is an independent broker and Medicare specialist in La Quinta CA. license #0G69218. You can reach him at 760-346-6565.