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Are you turning 65 soon? Don’t overlook these guidelines when signing up for Medigap.   

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

by: Leandro Mueller

Deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance are among the out-of-pocket expenses that you have to shoulder once Medicare has paid its share. They are known as the coverage “gaps” of Original Medicare. And the best way to fill those gaps is by having a Medicare Supplement Plan.

Also known as Medigap, Medicare supplement plans work together with your Original Medicare. It will pay all or part of the out-of-pocket expenses left by Medicare Part A and Part B. That includes deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Some types of Medigap plans even have Medicare Part B excess charges and emergency overseas health coverage benefits.

To enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, timing is very important. The time when you enroll in a Medigap policy will determine how easy you’ll get accepted in a plan, how much you’ll pay and the options available for you. To grab the opportunity, make sure you know about your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.

 

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Medigap eligibility

Medigap eligibility isn’t too complicated. You are eligible to enroll in a Medicare Supplemental insurance plan once you turn 65 and have Medicare Part B.

If you are still under 65 but are already a Medicare beneficiary, getting a Medigap plan can be challenging and pricey. Though the federal law doesn’t require states to sell Medigap policies, some offer certain Medigap plans to beneficiaries under 65 with disabilities or certain conditions. You may check with your local insurance department to know if you are eligible to apply for a Medicare Supplement and which options are available for you.

 

When is Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period?

It happens the first day of the month you are 65 and have Medicare Part B. Hence, there is no one exact date of Medigap Open Enrollment period because it depends on when a person starts to become eligible.

However, some people may decide to delay enrolling in Medicare Part B because they still have health coverage from their employer.  Later, if their employer coverage ended and they enroll in Medicare Part B, their Open Enrollment will then start.

People with disabilities under 65 and are on Medicare will have their  Open Enrollment Period starting on the effective date of their Medicare Part B. On the other hand, they will get to enjoy another Medigap Open Enrollment, Guaranteed Issue Rights and have more options just like other new applicants when they turn 65.

 

How long does it last?

It lasts for only six months and will only come once in your lifetime!

Make sure that you are prepared when this crucial period comes, especially if you have pre-existing conditions.

 

Why buy during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

Make sure to grab the opportunity to buy a Medigap policy during this period because the timing of your enrollment has effects on your ability to buy a policy and options available.

Medigap Open Enrollment period is the best time to buy a Medigap plan because of the following reasons:

  • You can choose a Medicare Supplement plan you like.
  • A private insurance company cannot reject your application or refuse to sell you any Medigap policy it offers.
  • The insurance provider cannot charge you a higher premium than they charge others because you have health conditions.
  • You don’t have to answer any medical questions or undergo medical underwriting even if you have pre-existing conditions.

 

Can I enroll in a Medicare Supplement ahead of time?

Yes, you can apply for Medigap ahead of time. You can advance your Medigap application even before your Part B effectivity date if you already know your Medicare claim number. Still, you don’t have to undergo medical underwriting or answer medical questions even if you advance your application.

 

Is there any other time to buy a Medigap plan?

Yes. Actually, you can buy a Medigap Plan anytime after turning 65 and having Medicare Part B. However, you won’t get the same benefits as like those who enrolled during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

 

Most states may require you to answer medical questions and undergo a medical underwriting. The results of underwriting also do not guarantee that your Medigap application will be accepted (except for those circumstances that will give you Guaranteed-issue rights). If ever you passed and your application is accepted, insurance companies may charge you with higher premiums than others.

 

Circumstances that you may have Guaranteed-issue rights

Guaranteed-issue rights are also known as Medigap protections. These are circumstances when you can enroll in a Medigap plan without the need to undergo underwriting. These situations includes :

  • If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan, and your plan is…(either of the following)
    • leaving Medicare
    • stops giving care in your area
    • you move out of the plan’s service area.
  • You are in an employer health plan that terminated coverage.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage plan when you first become eligible for Medicare at age 65 and leaves the program within one year.
  • If you drop a Medigap policy to join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time and you decide to leave within one year.
  • You left a plan because it fails to meet its obligations to you as a policyholder.
  • If your Medigap insurance company goes bankrupt and you lose coverage,
  • The Medigap policy coverage ends and it is not your fault.

 

Can I enroll in Medigap during Annual Open Enrollment?

First, know that Annual Open Enrollment that happens every Oct 15 to Dec. 7 is different from Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. And second, you can’t enroll in a Medigap plan during that period (unless your personal Medigap Open Enrollment period falls under the same months).

Also called as Annual Election Period (AEP), Annual Open Enrollment in Fall is for Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) and Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) only.

 

Final Thoughts

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is the best time to buy a Medigap plan. However, you can still apply anytime. We at FreeMedSuppQuotes are here to help you with your application needs. Get started by requesting Medicare Supplement quotes and one of our licensed insurance agents will reach out to you.

 

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Learn how much Medigap Plans cost