Thinking of Medigap? Buy at the right time
Unlike Part D or Medicare Advantage, Medigap does not have an Annual Enrollment Period but there is still a right time to buy.
Don’t miss your opportunity to buy a Medicare supplement with limited or no medical underwriting.
The following video will steer you down the road to success.
Medigap Open Enrollment Period
Everyone has a Medigap Open Enrollment Period when they become Medicare-eligible.
If you are interested in a Medicare supplement you should buy your plan during this enrollment period.
Here are the reasons that the Open Enrollment Period is the best time to buy:
- Insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you any policy that they sell
- They cannot make you wait for effective coverage (some exceptions)
- they cannot charge you a higher premium due to a health condition
The one exception for making you wait for effective coverage involves preexisting medical conditions. If you have been diagnosed or treated for a qualifying condition in the prior 6 months, the insurance company can make you wait 6 months until treatment for that condition is covered.
You will still be covered by Medicare and if you have had at least 6 months of prior creditable coverage with no more than a 63 day lapse in coverage, they can not make you wait at all.
When is Open Enrollment?
Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period lasts 6 months and begins on the 1st of the month that you are both 65 and enrolled in Part B.
You can submit an application once you have received your Medicare card. Submitting an application a month or two early is a good idea so your policy can be issued and be effective at the same time your Medicare becomes effective.
Guaranteed Issue Rights
There are times when it doesn’t make sense to buy a Medicare supplement during your Open Enrollment Period. If you let this enrollment period pass but want to buy a supplement at a later time, you may be able to do so due to a change in your circumstances.
There are times when you have Guaranteed Issue Rights. During this time an insurance company cannot use medical underwriting to deny you coverage.
Two of the most common times you will be entitled to these rights include:
- Employer coverage is ending (including COBRA)
- Medicare Advantage plan is not renewing
There are many other time you will be entitled as well.
You can submit an application to buy Medigap at other times as well. One time you cannot buy Medigap is when you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. If this is the case you should wait until your Annual Enrollment Period to submit a Medicare supplement application and request a January 1st issue date.
If you are not in your Open Enrollment Period or entitled to Guaranteed Issue Rights you will be subject to medical underwriting and are not guaranteed coverage.
You should submit an application anyway, as underwriting guidelines are fairly liberal.