When Is the Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period?
The Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is a six-month period that begins the first day of the month a person turns 65 or enrolls in Medicare Part B.
During this time, you can purchase any Medicare Supplement plan offered in your area without being subject to health underwriting. This means that you can be approved for a Medigap plan regardless of pre-existing health conditions or health history.
For most people, this is the same date they turn 65. However, depending on your circumstances, it may be later.
Age 65 or older
Once you sign up for Original Medicare Part B coverage, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period begins. Unfortunately, this can't be reversed or re-enacted.
Under age 65
Every state establishes rules to determine whether Medicare beneficiaries under 65 who are disabled can access guaranteed enrollment in Medicare Supplement insurance.
Based on our experience working with thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, we highly recommend applying for a Medigap plan when you are first eligible for Part B to avoid Medical underwriting. Furthermore, this also allows you to shop and compare many different companies and lock in the best monthly rates.
You can still apply if you missed your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. In addition, you may qualify for guaranteed issues rights (a special enrollment period) which prohibits private insurance companies from inquiring about your health status or charging a higher monthly premium due to medical issues or health problems you may have. A few examples of qualifying circumstances include:- Losing a group health care plan due to retirement or losing other employer-based coverage- Moving outside of a plan’s service area where your current Medigap coverage or Medicare Advantage plan is offered- Losing Medicaid services or other government assistance programs- If your Medigap insurer goes out of business.
You can still apply for a Medigap policy; however, the insurance carrier may either increase your premium or decline your application entirely.
If you are currently under a group health insurance plan through your employer or union due to you or your spouse being employed, it is likely best to wait before enrolling in Part B. This is because employer plans usually offer similar options as Medicare Supplement policies, so double coverage would not be needed. When your employer coverage ends, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period will begin.
In California & Oregon, you can change Medigap plans within 30 days of your birthday without going through medical underwriting thanks to the "birthday rule." Connecticut and New York provide year-round "guaranteed issue" privileges, meaning companies must offer certain Medigap policies in specific scenarios. In Maine, individuals can switch to a Medigap plan that provides the same or lesser benefits anytime throughout the year. Every year, Missouri residents with a Medigap plan are eligible for an "Anniversary Guaranteed Issue Period," this allows you to switch to the same plan from another insurer within a 60-day window around your policy anniversary date.
No, the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) and Medigap Open Enrollment are distinct periods. The Annual Enrollment Period is when individuals can enroll in or switch Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans. In contrast, Medigap Open Enrollment is when individuals can purchase a supplemental Medigap plan to cover gaps in traditional Medicare.
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