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Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period


The Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period is unique to each Medicare beneficiary. This enrollment period allows you to enroll in any Medigap plan without answering health questions. For most beneficiaries, this enrollment period happens once in a lifetime. Thus, it is the best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan.

Although you can still sign up for a Medigap plan at any time of the year, your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period prohibits carriers from denying you coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.

Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

  • Once-in-a-lifetime window (unless collecting SSDI)
  • Begins the same day as your Medicare Part B effective date
  • No health underwriting questions during this time

Applying for a Medigap plan during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period offers the opportunity to enroll in any Medigap plan available in your area, for the lowest possible monthly premium cost. It’s best to elect coverage during this time. After the six-month window closes, most beneficiaries must answer underwriting health questions when applying for Medicare Supplemental coverage.

Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period starts the first day of the month your Medicare Part B is in effect. For many beneficiaries, this is the first day of the month they turn 65.

Let’s say your Medicare Part B coverage begins April 1. Your individual Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period window would start on that day and continue for six months, ending September 30.

Those who choose to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B due to creditable coverage through their large employer group plan will receive their Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period when they lose group coverage and enroll in Medicare Part B.

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Preparing for Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

Those eligible for automatic enrollment to Original Medicare or who enroll in Medicare up to three months before their 65th birth month will receive their Medicare ID card in the mail about 4 weeks after they apply. Once you have your Medicare card, you can begin the process of applying for Medigap coverage.

Most Medicare Supplement carriers will allow Medicare beneficiaries to submit their Medigap application up to six months before their Medicare Part B effective date. The carrier will process your application as if you’re already in your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, with no health questions.

Once you apply for Medicare or know your Medicare Part B effective date, there’s no need to wait to enroll in a Supplement plan until you turn 65. With rates constantly changing, we often help our clients lock in their Medigap plan months ahead of their 65th birthday. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to receive the policy benefits until you’re 65 and have Medicare Part B.

Do Some People Get a Second Open Enrollment Period for Medigap?

There are very few situations where a beneficiary will get a second Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Below is a list of a few.

  • If you retire, enroll in Medicare Part B, then go back to work and join your employer’s group health care coverage, you’ll get a second Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period when you retire again and enroll back into Medicare Part B.
  • If you get Medicare due to a disability when you’re under 65, you’ll get two Medigap Open Enrollment Periods. The first will start with your Original Medicare Part B effective date before you turn 65. The second will begin when you turn 65.

One reason a beneficiary on Medicare due to disability would choose not to enroll during their first Medigap Open Enrollment Period is due to the minimal Medigap plan options available to them. Only certain states require Medicare Supplement carriers to offer Medigap plans to people under 65.

In fact, most states only offer Plan A (or equivalent, minimal coverage) to those under 65. Because of this, someone qualifying due to disability may not have many options when first eligible. Allowing for a second Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period gives these beneficiaries access to all plans in their area.

Another reason a beneficiary under 65 wouldn’t enroll in a Medigap plan during their first Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is high premium prices. Unfortunately, most states have astronomical monthly Medigap premiums for those under 65. Once they age into Medicare and their second Open Enrollment Period begins, the rates quoted will be much more affordable.

When Can You Sign Up for Medicare Supplement Plans?

When it comes to Medicare Supplement plans, you can apply any time throughout the year. So, even if your Open Enrollment window has passed, you can still enroll. However, you’ll most likely need to go through medical underwriting and answer health questions during the application process.

Outside your one-time Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, a carrier can deny you coverage due to pre-existing conditions or health issues. The only way around this is through guaranteed issue rights due to a circumstance that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period.

Some states have unique open enrollment rules, such as birthday rules. These rules allow you to enroll in Medigap at certain times, without answering health questions.

Making the Most of Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period

Timing can affect how much you pay for coverage, ease of obtaining coverage, and the options available to you. The Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the only time most can enroll in any Medigap letter plan without needing to answer any health questions. By law, the carrier must approve your application for coverage, regardless of any health issues.

If you enroll during your Medicare Supplement Open enrollment period, no health problems will prevent you from getting coverage. That’s why we strive to educate our clients on the importance of enrolling during this unique window.

Keep in mind, during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, you can only enroll in plans for which you are eligible. This means that if you enrolled in Original Medicare after January 1, 2020, you are not eligible to enroll in Medigap Plan F, High Deductible Plan F, or Medigap Plan C.

What’s the Difference Between the Annual Enrollment Period and Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is not the same as the Annual Election Period in the fall. The latter pertains to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans and the dates are the same every year. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is unique to you, only happens once in your lifetime, and only concerns Medicare Supplement selection.

Many new beneficiaries think they can enroll in a Medigap plan and bypass health questions during the Annual Enrollment Period. However, this isn’t the case.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions and causes the most problems for beneficiaries. It’s also why it’s so important to know about enrollment periods. One option during the Annual Enrollment Period is to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. This allows the beneficiary to enroll in prescription drug plan coverage and Medigap.

What if I Miss My Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period?

Don’t worry if you happen to miss your Medigap Open Enrollment Period and face denial of coverage. You still have options.

If you have a serious health condition that causes a Medigap carrier to deny you, you should be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. However, you’ll need to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period to sign up for one of these plans.

Once on a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to stay within the plan’s network of doctors. However, you may be able to keep the same doctor if you switch to a Medicare Advantage PPO plan.

FAQs

When does Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment take place?
Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is unique to you and begins the first day of the month your Medicare Part B is effective. This window lasts for six months and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan without the need to answer health questions and undergo the medical underwriting process.
How long is Open Enrollment for Medicare Supplement policies?
Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period will last six months.
Can you be denied Medicare Supplemental insurance?
If you don’t enroll during your Open Enrollment Period, you can be denied a Medicare Supplement plan due to pre-existing conditions or disabilities.
Can you enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan at any time?
Yes, however, if you’re outside your Open Enrollment Period, you’ll need to answer health questions in most states.

How to Get Help During Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period

At MedicareFAQ, our agents are dedicated to helping you find the best Medicare coverage possible. They are able to educate you on all the different enrollment periods to make sure you don't miss out. If you're already outside your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, we're still here to help you find a plan.

Our agents are more than happy to answer all your questions and walk you through the health questions to see if you qualify. Once you enroll with our agents, you will have unlimited access to our Client Support Team.

We're ready to help! Contact us by calling the number above or use our rate comparison tool to see premiums near you now.

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

32 thoughts on “Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

  1. I am 72 years old and started Medicare A and B 09/01/2014 and have Plan F. When is my open enrollment dates? I have found cheaper rates for other Plan F coverage.

    1. Barbara, with a Medicare Supplement, there is no Open Enrollment outside of the first time you enroll. With that being said, you can change your plan at any time as long as you can pass medical underwriting unless you are in a state that has a specific open enrollment rule.

  2. Hello

    My wife and I turned 65 a week apart in Oct/Nov 2019. I was retired, my wife was employed and we had coverage with her work. We both enrolled in Part A on our 65th birthday. We deferred enrollment in Part B and then her business shut down due to Covid in April 2021 and my wife retired. We worked with Medicare and were both able to enroll in Part B on April 1, 2021. In June 2021 her business reopened and she “un-retired” and resumed work with employer health insurance so we did not pursue adding a Medicare Supplement and didn’t quite understand the open enrollment window. My wife is planning to retire again in the spring of 2022. Can we appeal the 6 month open enrollment window period based on our circumstances? How do we do it? We are NY residents but also own a home in CT. Would it serve us to change our legal residence to CT as I understand the rules of open enrollment in CT might be beneficial to us if an appeal for our 6 month window after signing up for Part B isn’t successful? We are concerned about not being covered for preexisting conditions. I hope this makes sense.

    1. Larry, New York and Connecticut have the same year-round open-enrollment rules. In either state, you do not need to answer health questions at any time when enrolling into a Medicare Supplement plan. This means that pre-existing conditions are not considered for enrollment.

  3. I’m 75 and have been on medicare advantage PPO for many years. I applied for a medigap G at the end of November during the OEP. I was told by the agent that there was no underwriting during this period but instead I had to answer health questions and was turned down. Why was there underwriting during this “no underwriting” OEP?

    1. Art, thank you for your comment. The Annual Enrollment Period is an opportunity for those on Medicare Advantage to return to Original Medicare, enroll in a new MA plan and for those on a Medicare Part D plan to make changes for the upcoming year. When applying for a Medicare Supplement outside of your initial enrollment period, underwriting health questions will always be required, unless you qualify for a guaranteed issue right or your state has certain exceptions.

  4. I started my part A an B on 3/1/21 and an Advantage plan on 4/1/21 with the hope of switching in 11 months to a supplement plan (12 month trial), but when I talked to an agent to do this I was not guaranteed without underwriting and possible 3 time price quote (wrong info from initial adviser – I guess). Still want to switch but only left myself with a week to get accepted to supplement and part D. So not doing during this sign up period (11/21). Can I submit a request the supplement I like in January – see what happens, if I like price, go for it and then cancel advantage plan and sign up for part D during that enrollment period (1/22 – 3/22)?
    Other suggestions?
    Thanks

  5. I turn 65 in sept 2022. I worked for the state and didn’t pay social security taxes for 8 years. How do I know if I qualify for a Medicare health and prescription plan? If I do qualify when can I enroll? Thanks.

    1. Hi Cathy – you will qualify for Medicare when you turn 65. The only caveat is that you won’t be eligible for premium-free Part A if you or your spouse hasn’t paid Medicare taxes while working for at least 40 quarters.

    1. Hi Scott, we are sorry to hear about your wife’s health. In this case, as in all with Medicare Advantage, she should make sure she stays in her network so her care is covered. Alternatively, she could drop her Advantage plan during Open Enrollment and pick up a Part D plan that covers all her medications. That way, she would be able to see any practitioner who accepts Medicare assignment – which is the majority in the United States.

  6. I am under 65 and I have Medicare Advantage Plan due to disability, I will turn 65 in September 2021, is it correct that my Medigap Open Enrollment Periods can start September 1st 2021 and last for 6 months which will end February 28th 2022? Another word, I can keep my current Advantage plan for this year and come to the Advantage annual open enrollment period 10/15-12/07 I can decide if I want to continue with Advantage or switch to Medigap for next year without have to answer any health questions?

    1. Hi Jacob! The first part of your question is correct. Your second Medigap OEP will begin on September 1st & last for 6-months. During this time, you will NOT have to answer any health questions. However, outside this window, you WILL have to answer health questions. So to answer the second half of your question, you can switch from Advantage to Medigap during the Annual Enrollment Period in 2022, however, you will have to answer health questions since you will no longer be in your Medigap OEP. I would HIGHLY recommend you use your Medigap OEP to enroll in a Medigap plan since you may never be able to get one once this window has passed. I hope this helps!

  7. If I enroll in Medicare Part B, on or within a few days after my 65th birthday, as it comes late in the month, will I incur any penalties when Part B goes into effect, possibly a few months later, or does that acceptance go into immediate effect on the actual date in which I enroll?

  8. If I am in my 6mo Open Enrollment Medicare Supplement Period, but I had already signed up for a Medicare Advantage Plan, can I still switch to a Medigap Plan?

    1. Hi Sharon! Yes, you can still switch to a Medigap plan even if you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as long as you are still within your 6-month OEP.

  9. Question. My son had Medicare part A, B and D and a supplemental plan (he is under 65). His spouse was checking Medicare advantage plans this last year and she enrolled him in a Medicare advantage plan which was a HMO. Not good for him because of his number of specialist and hospitalizations. When she call the 800 number back they said that the previous person should have never put him in an HMO Medicare advantage plan and he should re-enroll in part D and that would cancel his Medicare advantage plan and he would be able to re-enroll in a Medicare supplemental plan. She did this and the Medicare supplemental plans say he can not enroll in a supplemental plan and he ia sh$# out of luck. Does anyone have an answer to this?

    1. Hi Kevin. Unfortunately, the information you were given is correct. Your son will have a second Open Enrollment Period to enroll in a Medigap plan when he turns 65. The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period ends March 31st. He has until then to possibly switch to another Advantage plan that includes more of his doctors in the network of the plan. However, he will not be able to enroll in a Part D plan until the next Annual Enrollment Period in October.

  10. Hi, turning 65 this August and still working. If I choose Medicare Advantage, then drop it after a year in favor of plan B and supplemental, will I face health questions, and a higher premium when I enroll?

    If so, I would prefer to stay on my employers health plan (credible) for another year, Assuming I don’t get laid off or terminated.

    These are my two choices. What are your thoughts? Thank you.

  11. Hello,
    May I switch plans durning my own personal 6 month open enrollment?
    Or do I only get to enroll in one plan?

    1. Hi Linda! During your own Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you can switch plans as many times as you like. You can even switch plans after your enrollment window. You’ll just have to answer health questions.

  12. I am turning 65 in February, 2020 I am currently working and have insurance coverage from my employer, I do not plan to retire until I am 66 or 67. I have pre-existing health conditions. My question is should I file for Medicare Supplement during the Annual Enrollment Period now prior to my 65th birthday in order to avoid medical questions and possible denial of coverage. I have medical insurance through my employer and it seems that I would be paying premiums for an additional coverage Medicare Supplement just to avoid answering medical questions. Can you advise if I should file AEP now or wait?

    1. Hi Wayne. The Annual Enrollment Period is not for Medigap, it’s for Medicare Advantage and Part D beneficiaries to make changes. As long as your employer has more than 20 employees, your group coverage is creditable. You can delay enrolling in Part B without penalty. Once you leave your group coverage, you’ll get a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Part B. Once your Part B is active, your 6-month OEP for Medigap will begin. That is when you can enroll without answering health questions.

  13. I am a Connecticut resident currently enrolled in an Advantage Program and would like to know if I can enroll in a supplement program at any time during the year without penalty? I have no health issues and the only reason I am considering the supplement is the availability of doctors in the state that I may relocate to.

    1. Hi Emily! Yes, there are no penalties when it comes to Medicare Supplement plans. You can enroll at any time of the year. You can drop your Advantage plan now and enroll in a Medigap plan. If you don’t have any health issues, you should have no problem enrolling.

  14. HI Lindsay , I will 65 yrs old on March 26 , I am divorced and mi primary insurance is Blue Cross through my husband company, it is finished in about a month when the divorce end . My secondary insurance is Medicare part A and B , I am in disability . What is the best plan you can recommended ? I need good cover for my medical condition.

    1. Hi Martha! I would recommend speaking with an agent to get help with your situation since it’s very unique. You could keep your Part A and Part B only until you turn 65. You will be responsible for 20% of any outpatient services and deductibles that fall under Part A & B if you go to the hospital or doctor. You could also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan between the time you lose group coverage and turn 65 if your state offers them to those under 65. The month of your birthday, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period will begin. Use this enrollment window to enroll in a Medigap plan and leave your Medicare Advantage plan if you did enroll in one. If you miss your OEP to enroll in Medigap, your disability could prevent you from ever enrolling in one. That’s why it’s crucial you enroll in a Medigap plan during your Open Enrollment Period starting in March. Again, I would advise you to speak to one of our agents to assist you.

  15. i have employer insuracnce and have enrolled in part b my employers insurance pays first and medicare second when i retire can i get a supplement without having to answer healh questions in NC

    1. Hi Mary Ann! Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period becomes active once you have Part B. If you enrolled in Part B, you have 6-months from when it became active to enroll in a Medigap plan without answering health questions. If you already have Part B and plan to retire later in the future, you will have to answer health questions to enroll in a supplement.

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