When to enroll in medicare

when to enroll in medicare

When to Enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan

Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan at any time during the year, but can avoid paying high out-of-pocket costs by joining during certain enrollment periods.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are unique in that beneficiaries may apply for a plan at any time, not only during an enrollment period. Yet, applying for a Medigap plan during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period has its perks: beneficiaries can avoid spending too much for coverage because of a pre-existing condition and they also have the guaranteed issue right to enroll in any plan they choose.

When is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period?

The best time for a Medicare beneficiary to enroll in Medicare Supplement insurance is during the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which differs for each individual. This is a six month enrollment period that begins on the first day of the month that you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. This six month period begins when you first enroll in Part B and may not be moved or changed. During this time, beneficiaries have the guaranteed issue right to a Medigap plan, meaning that insurance companies may not use medical underwriting to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to those who have any pre-existing conditions. If you do have a pre-existing condition, though, a Medigap plan may delay covering it.

Beneficiaries may also apply early (before the OEP) for a Medigap

plan if they foresee their enrollment in Medicare Part B. By applying early, they may avoid experiencing any gaps in coverage by securing continuous coverage.

What happens if I miss the enrollment period?

If you missed the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, don’t worry! Beneficiaries have the ability to enroll in a Medigap plan year round. The catch, though, is that outside of OEP, private insurance companies may use medical underwriting to screen applicants. This screening determines the price of the policy, and, even if approved, beneficiaries may only have access to limited plan choices.

Additionally, even if you miss your Open Enrollment Period, you may qualify for guaranteed issue rights to a Medicare Supplement plan under the following circumstances:

  • You have a secondary payer employer health care plan, and this coverage is ending.
  • You are moving out of your Medicare Advantage plan service area, or your plan is leaving the Medicare program.
  • Your current Medicare Supplement insurance company goes bankrupt and you lose coverage.
  • You have a Medicare SELECT policy and are moving out of the plan’s service area.

Generally, the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan is during the Open Enrollment Period because insurance companies may not use medical underwriting to deny coverage or charge higher out-of-pocket costs because of any pre-existing conditions.

Are you enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan? Did you use your guaranteed issue rights to get the plan of your choice?

Medicare has not reviewed or approved this information.

Source: blog.planprescriber.com

Category: Insurance

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