When Can I Enroll in Medicare Supplement plan? – Frequently Asked Questions

Jory Cross by Jory Cross | Licensed since 2012
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This article was updated on: 10/29/2018

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Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) has no out-of-pocket maximum, meaning you could face significant out-of-pocket expenses if you require extensive medical care. A Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) plan may help cover some out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Medicare Supplement is different from Medicare Advantage, which is a way to get your Medicare benefits from a private insurance company. You also cannot use a Medicare Supplement plan alongside a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Supplement only works together with Original Medicare.

When is the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan?

The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period(OEP). This period lasts for six months and begins the month that you’re both 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Federal law doesn’t require private insurance companies to sell Medicare Supplement to people under 65, even if you have qualified for Medicare through a disability. During your Open Enrollment period, companies that sell Medicare Supplement cannot deny you coverage based on your health problems. You also cannot be charged more for insurance. The process of using health information to make a decision about your eligibility for insurance coverage or how much to charge you is called medical underwriting. After your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is over, companies can use medical underwriting when deciding to cover you.

When else can I enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan?

You may still be able to buy a Medicare Supplement plan after your Open Enrollment Period(OEP) is over, but you may be subjected to medical underwriting. Medical underwriting may result in your plan costing you more if you have health problems. There is also no guarantee that an insurance company will sell a policy if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements. Guaranteed issue rights can protect you from medical underwriting outside your Open Enrollment Period. You may be granted guaranteed issue rights when your health coverage changes in some way, such as when you lose your health care coverage. For example, if your Medicare Supplement provider goes bankrupt and you lose your coverage, you may be granted guaranteed issue rights to apply for a new plan.

Do you have more questions about enrolling in Medicare Supplement?

There may be several choices of Medicare plans that could work for your situation, and I’d be happy help you find them. You can set up a phone call with me, or I can email you some useful information about Medicare plans; just click one of the links below. If you’d like to research Medicare plans in the comfort of your home, you can click the Compare Plans buttons on this page.

Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

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