I’m sure you’ve heard that timing is everything, this is especially true with Medicare Supplement insurance and your enrollment options.
Timing can affect how much you pay for coverage; how easy coverage is to obtain, and it can greatly determine the options available to you.
Don’t wait until the last day to sign up for Medicare Supplement coverage.
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period
About 10,000 people enroll in Medicare every day. The Open Enrollment Period begins the day you turn 65 with Part B.
This enrollment period only happens one time in your life.
It’s a good idea to know when you can sign up for Medigap. We’ve assembled this quick guide to help you keep track of Enrollment Periods.
Timing your enrollment is extremely important, it can affect your coverage options and expenses. The best time to purchase a Medicare Supplement insurance policy is when you’re in the Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
This 6-month period begins the first day of the month you’re enrolled in Part B and 65. The last day to sign up for Medicare Supplement coverage with Guarantee Issue rights will be at the end of this 6-month period.
During this period, you can enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan offered in your service area with a guaranteed issue.
You’re Turning 65 and Going On Medicare
The months around your 65th birthday is your first opportunity to enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.
Part A and B are often referred to as “Original Medicare.”
Part C is also known as a Medicare replacement or Medicare Advantage plan.
This policy includes:
- At least the same benefits as Parts A and B
- Possible Ancillary benefits; routine dental, vision, and hearing
- May also cover prescription drugs.
Part D give you prescription drug coverage; specifically for drugs administered at home.
The initial 7-month enrollment period for Traditional Medicare plans begins 3 months before the month you turn 65. Ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Who is Eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance?
For those under 65 with Medicare, you may not be able to enroll in a Medigap policy; federal law doesn’t require states to offer Medigap coverage to beneficiaries under 65.
Some states offer Medicare Supplement policies to beneficiaries under 65 with disabilities. If you have a disability such as; end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you may not need to wait for the 24-month Medicare waiting period.
Medigap options and eligibility are dependent on the state, contact an expert to find out if you qualify.
What if I Didn’t Enroll in Medicare When I Turned 65
All four Medicare parts have yearly Enrollment Periods. Anyone can sign up; although, you may pay late enrollment penalties if you enrolled late. In addition, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- For Parts A and B, the General Enrollment Period is from January 1 to March 31.
- For Parts C and D, the Annual Election Period is from October 15-December 7.
If you or your spouse are covered by an employer-sponsored health plan, you’ll qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
You can sign up for Medicare anytime; however, your Special Enrollment Period ends 8 months after the employment or group health coverage ends. You won’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Medigap plans are standardized insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. Policies pay medical and hospital costs that Original Medicare does not cover. You must have Original Medicare to enroll.
What is Medigap Coverage?
You know Original Medicare has out-of-pocket expenses like copayments, coinsurances, and deductibles that you’re responsible for paying.
Traditional Medicare only covers 80% of your covered healthcare expenses after deductibles are met. Medicare Supplement also called Medigap, helps cover what Medicare doesn’t.
In other words, these Medigap policies fill the gaps in Original Medicare. These plans cover things like Medicare Part B excess charges or emergency overseas health coverage.
Medigap policies are sold by private insurance companies. Medicare pays its share for the covered health care expense, then the Medigap policy pays its share.
Medicare Supplement policies have a monthly premium that you pay in addition to the monthly Part B premium. The Part B premium typically comes out of your Social Security check before you receive it.
Supplement insurance doesn’t cover everything; many policies won’t cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses or private-nursing.
What is Guaranteed Issue?
Guaranteed issue is a benefit offered to those new to Medicare Part B, and its benefits include:
- Companies can’t charge you a higher premium or deny you coverage based on your medical history.
- You get the best premium rate available with no medical underwriting.
- The insurance company must cover all your pre-existing health conditions.
Other Situations You Might Qualify for Guaranteed-Issue Rights
You probably have a guaranteed issue right if you have other health coverage that changes in some way, like if you involuntarily lost coverage.
You qualify for a “trial right” to try a Medicare Advantage plan. Then, within the first year, you can buy a Medicare Supplement if you change your mind.
Examples of Guaranteed Issue rights include:
- Medicare Supplement Insurance company goes bankrupt or misled you.
- Medigap coverage ends and it’s not your fault
- You’re enrolled in Traditional Medicare and an employer-sponsored group plan, and your employer coverage is ending.
If you’re about to lose coverage you may have a Guaranteed Issue right to buy a Medicare Supplement.
You need to keep these:
- Letter, notice, email and/or claim denials that have your name on them as proof of your coverage being terminated
- The envelope these papers came in as proof of when it was mailed
These documents may be required when you apply for your Medigap policy to prove you have a guaranteed issue right.
How Long is an Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Supplement Policies
During this time, insurers cannot turn you down or charge you a higher rate because of preexisting health conditions.
If you don’t enroll during this initial period, you can still apply for coverage anytime. However, you may be denied or may pay a higher premium because of your age or health history.
Why Should You Take Advantage of the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period?
Pre-existing conditions are health issues that existed before the start of a policy. Pre-existing conditions may limit coverage, be excluded from coverage, or even prevent you from being approved for a policy.
Checking a plan’s documents to understand how the plan handles pre-existing conditions can be stressful. Our agents will do all the hard work for you, making finding a compatible company easier.
They can save you time and money, let them walk you through the enrollment process.
You Missed Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Deadline
If you missed your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period deadline, you can still apply anytime.
However, you’ll most likely be required to go through medical underwriting and are not guaranteed coverage.
Annual Open Enrollment Period vs Open Enrollment Period
The Annual Enrollment Period takes place every year from October 15 through December 7th. During this period you can enroll, dis-enroll or change Medicare Advantage as well as Part D prescription drug plans.
The Open Enrollment Period is a one-time six-month period that begins on your Part B effective date or the first day of the month you turn 65. This period grants you enrollment in any Medicare Supplement with no medical underwriting.
Free Medicare Supplement Information
At MedicareFAQ, we search for all the top-rated insurance companies to find you the best rates on Medigap.
Our friendly representatives will give you a fast, free quote and answer all your questions. This allows you to choose the policy that’s right for you.
Contact us today for a free Medicare Supplement information by calling the number above or completing our online compare rates form now.