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Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period

Summary: Your one-time Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period is the best time to apply for Medigap coverage. Find out why you should enroll during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period and how to apply so you don’t miss out. Estimated Read Time: 6 mins

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Table of Contents:

  1. What is Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment?
  2. When Does Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Take Place?
  3. Preparing for Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment
  4. Do Some People Get a Second Open Enrollment Period for Medigap?
  5. Can Medicare Supplement Plans Be Purchased at Any Time?
  6. How Long is Open Enrollment for Medicare Supplement Policies?
  7. What if I Miss My Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment?

Unlike many other Medicare enrollment periods, your Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period is unique to you. This window allows you to enroll in Medigap plans without answering underwriting health questions.

For most, the Medicare Supplement Open 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 anytime, your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period prohibits carriers from denying you coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.

What is Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment?

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment PeriodYour Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment occurs during the first six months you are enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this time, you may enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan without answering underwriting health questions. Thus, you receive guaranteed issue rights to the Medicare Supplement policy of your choice as long as you qualify based on your Medicare enrollment date.

When enrolling in a Medigap policy outside your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment, answering questions regarding your health history and medications is a regular practice. Your answers to these questions will determine if you are admitted to the plan or not.

Keep in mind the Medicare Supplement Enrollment Period is not the only time you may enroll in Medigap coverage. You may apply for a Medigap plan at any time. However, the key to a successful enrollment is passing medical underwriting.

Yet, to avoid medical underwriting altogether, the best time to apply for supplemental health insurance is during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.

When Does Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Take Place?

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

Characteristics of Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment include: 

  • Once-in-a-lifetime window (unless collecting Social Security Disability Income)
  • Begins on your Medicare Part B effective date
  • No health underwriting questions during this time

It’s best to apply for a Medigap plan during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment window because you get the opportunity to sign up for any Medicare Supplement plan available in your area for the lowest possible monthly premium cost. In most cases, after the six-month window closes, you must answer underwriting health questions when applying for Medicare Supplement coverage.

Suppose your Medicare Part B coverage begins on April 1. Then, your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period would start on the same day and continue for six months, ending September 30.

Those who delay enrollment in Medicare Part B due to creditable coverage through their large employer group plan will have their Medigap Open Enrollment Period when they lose group coverage and enroll in Medicare Part B.

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Preparing for Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment

Those eligible for automatic enrollment in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) or who enroll in Medicare up to three months before their 65th birth month will receive their Medicare ID card in the mail about four weeks after they apply. Once you have your Medicare card, you can apply for Medigap coverage.

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

It’s important to note that different insurance companies may charge you different premiums for the same exact Medigap policy. Make sure to shop around and compare policies under the same plan type to see which Medigap plan suits your medical needs and budget best.

Once you apply for Medicare or know your Medicare Part B effective date, you will not need to wait to enroll in a Medigap plan until you turn 65. With rates constantly changing, we often help our clients lock in their Medigap plan’s monthly premium rate ahead of their 65th birthday. Remember, you cannot receive the policy benefits until you turn 65 and your Medicare Part B coverage is effective.

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

There are very few situations where you can get a second Medigap Open Enrollment opportunity. 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 will 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 under 65, you’ll receive two Medigap Open Enrollment Periods. The first will start with your Medicare Part B effective date before you turn 65. The second will begin when you turn 65.

One reason someone on Medicare due to disability would choose not to enroll during their initial Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment is that minimal Medigap plan options are available. Only some states require Medicare Supplement carriers to offer Medigap options to people under 65.

In fact, several states only offer Medicare Supplement Plan A (or equivalent, minimal coverage) to those under 65. As a result, someone qualifying due to disability may not have many options when first eligible. Allowing for a second Medigap 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 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 chance at Open Enrollment begins, the rates quoted will be much more affordable.

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Can Medicare Supplement Plans Be Purchased at Any Time?

You can apply for Medicare supplement insurance at any time. So, even after your Medigap Open Enrollment window closes, you can still enroll. However, you will most likely need to undergo Medicare Supplement underwriting and answer health questions during the application process.

A carrier can deny coverage outside your one-time Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period 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.

How Long is Open Enrollment for Medicare Supplement Policies?

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

If you enroll during your Medigap 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 Medicare Supplement enrollment during this unique time.

It is important to note that during your Medigap Open Enrollment, you can only sign up for plans for which you are eligible. This means that if you obtain Original Medicare after January 1, 2020, you do not qualify for Medicare Supplement Plan FHigh Deductible Plan F, or Medicare Supplement Plan C.

What if I Miss My Medigap Open Enrollment?

If you miss your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment window and face denial of coverage, you still have options.

If you have a severe health condition that causes a Medigap insurance provider to deny you, you will usually have options for Medicare Advantage plans in your area. However, you will need to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period to sign up for one of these plans.

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Once you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you must stay within the plan’s network of doctors. A Medicare Advantage PPO plan will give you the best chance to keep your current practitioners.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period information.

How to Get Help During Your Medigap Open Enrollment

At MedicareFAQ, our agents are dedicated to helping you find the best Medicare coverage possible. They can educate you on all the different enrollment periods to ensure 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 happy to answer all your questions and walk you through the Medigap underwriting 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.

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Medigap Open Enrollment, Medicare. Accessed September 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap
Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

34 thoughts on "Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period"

  1. If I have a Medicare Advantage plan beginnning at age 63 due to disability, can I switch to a Medigap plan when I turn 65 with no health questions or other underwriting?

    1. Yes! Once you turn 65 you will be given a second Open Enrollment to enroll in a Medigap plan with no underwriting health questions.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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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