Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Open Enrollment Period

Original Medicare covers a lot—but it doesn’t cover everything. A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan offers valuable coverage for more predictable healthcare costs. But there are specific rules about when you can enroll. Take a few minutes to learn more now so you can avoid the potential for higher costs down the road.

What is a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap)?

A Medicare Supplement insurance plan, also known as Medigap, helps cover the “gaps” in Original Medicare coverage. This includes out-of-pocket costs like Part A and Part B deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. These plans are offered by private insurers and can help pay costs not paid by Original Medicare.
 

When is the initial Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Supplement plans?

If you’re 65 or older, you can enroll beginning the first month you have Medicare Part B. The 1-time enrollment period lasts for 6 months. With few exceptions, this is the only time you can buy a Medicare Supplement insurance policy without being subject to medical underwriting. This means that during this period, insurance companies can’t turn you down or charge you higher premiums based on your health. Some states also offer additional Open Enrollment periods, including for people under age 65 and eligible for Medicare due to a disability.

What is a guaranteed issue right?

If you qualify, a guaranteed issue right lets you buy a Medicare Supplement insurance policy outside of your Open Enrollment Period with no underwriting or higher premiums. For example, you may qualify if you lose other health coverage or you have a Medicare Advantage plan and you’ve moved out of the plan's service area.
 

When am I first eligible to apply for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan?

The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period begins the first day of the month in which you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. 
 

Can I change my Medicare Supplement insurance plan?

If you want to change to a different Medicare Supplement plan, you can apply at any time. However, if you don’t qualify for a guaranteed issue right, the plan provider may take into account your current health status when deciding whether to sell you a plan and how much they will charge you for it. 

Frequently asked questions

1. Can I apply for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan at any time?

Yes, but if your initial enrollment period has passed—and you don’t qualify for a guaranteed issue right—your options may be limited. Insurance companies may consider your health status to decide if you’re eligible and may charge higher premiums or deny coverage based on preexisting conditions.1

2. What is the 6-month rule for Medigap insurance?

The 6-month rule applies to your initial Medicare Supplement enrollment. If you’re 65 or older, you can enroll beginning the first month you have Medicare Part B. This 1-time enrollment period lasts for 6 months.

Humana answers your Medicare questions

Source

  1. Get ready to buy: Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period,” Medicare.gov, last accessed May 1, 2024

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