- Medicare supplement insurance is also called Medigap.
- You may enroll in a Medigap plan during your 6-month individual Medigap open enrollment window. This period begins the first day of the month you turn 65 years old.
- You may enroll outside of your Medigap open enrollment window — but if you do, you may pay more or be denied coverage, depending on your health and medical history.
Medicare supplement insurance plans work with your original Medicare (parts A and B) coverage to help fill in any gaps in that coverage. These gaps may require you to pay out of pocket for certain costs, such as:
When it comes to Medigap insurance, applying at the proper time is critical. It guarantees that you’ll have the best selection of plans and pay the lowest premiums.
Open enrollment for Medigap, also known as Medicare supplement insurance, is the 6-month period that begins the month you turn 65 years old and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
This period starts is the 6-month period that starts when you turn age 65 and have enrolled in Medicare Part B. If you enroll after this time, insurance companies may increase the monthly premiums due to medical underwriting. Medical underwriting is a process that’s used by insurance companies to make decisions about coverage based on your medical history. Medical underwriting is not allowed during Medigap initial enrollment.
You can still purchase a Medigap plan outside of your initial enrollment period. Here are the other time periods when you may enroll in a Medigap plan throughout the year:
- General enrollment (January 1–March 31). You may switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or you can leave a Medicare Advantage plan, return to original Medicare, and apply for a Medigap plan.
- Open enrollment October 15–December 7). You may enroll in any Medicare plan, including a Medigap plan, during this period.
However, if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements, you have no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medigap policy after your open enrollment period.
Although you may be able to buy Medigap at a future time, the 6-month period after you turn 65 years old is considered the best time to enroll. This is because at this time:
- You can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, regardless of your medical history or preexisting health conditions.
- You will generally get better prices.
- You can’t be denied coverage.
During your open enrollment period, by federal law, insurance companies can’t deny you coverage, and they must sell you a Medigap policy at the best available rate. This is true regardless of your current state of health or any preexisting conditions.
After this open enrollment period, however, insurance companies aren’t required to sell you a policy if you try to purchase one. And even if you are able to buy one, it may cost more, depending on your current or past health conditions.
If you apply for a Medigap policy outside of your open enrollment window, insurance companies offering Medigap are generally allowed to decide whether or not to accept your application.
They can also determine how much to charge you for the Medigap policy based on medical underwriting. This means that your medical history and current state of health may affect the amount you’ll pay.
The best time to purchase Medigap is during the 6-month open enrollment period that begins the month you turn 65-years old and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
By taking advantage of your open enrollment period, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state. You can’t be denied coverage and you’ll pay the best available rate, regardless of any current or past health conditions.
If you purchase a Medicare supplement plan outside of your open enrollment period, you might:
- pay a higher premium
- have a waiting period for coverage
- be denied coverage