In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Medigap open enrollment period and other times that you can enroll in your preferred plan. If you need assistance determining the right plan for your needs, view our plan comparison chart, or schedule time to speak with a knowledgeable agent.
As you make your Medigap Open Enrollment plans, be sure to remember the following information:
- Medigap Open Enrollment only occurs once for most people. It is not annual.
- The window lasts for six months from the day your Medicare Part B takes effect (after the age of 65)
- After this window, you must answer health questions to change plans in most states
- People on Medicare under age 65 get a rare second open enrollment for Medicare supplement when they turn 65
You can always shop medicare supplement prices any time of the year to see if you can save money on your current coverage.
Medigap Open Enrollment
Like Medicare, Medigap has an open enrollment period, during which time you can enroll in any plan offered in your service area with guaranteed issue right. Guaranteed issue right gives you the right to the best available rate, meaning that insurance companies can’t deny you service or charge you more for policies based on your medical history or pre-existing conditions.
The best available rate may depend on several factors, including your gender, smoking status, marital status, and where you live. For this reason—and especially if you have medical issues, disabilities or an extensive health history—the Medigap open enrollment period is the best time to enroll in your Medicare Supplement plan.
We’ve made it easy to view premiums for your preferred Medigap plans in your area.
Medigap Enrollment vs Annual Enrollment
The open enrollment period for Medigap is not the same timeline as your annual open enrollment period for benefits. Rather, Medigap open enrollment is a six-month period that automatically starts the month you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B (medical insurance).
It’s worth noting that some people delay their Part B enrollment if they’re still working at age 65. When they do retire, they then enroll in Part B, triggering their Medigap open enrollment period.
You’ll want to assess your own circumstances, so you can be clear on when your enrollment period is. This is the only window you have a guaranteed right to enroll in any Medigap plan available in your area, and missing it makes the enrollment process much more difficult, costly and burdensome. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact an agent.
If You Miss Your Enrollment Period
If you apply for a Medigap plan after your six-month open enrollment period ends, an insurance company can deny you coverage if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements. If you are able to purchase a policy, your monthly premium may be higher and you could be subject to a six-month waiting period before your plan covers pre-existing conditions.
However, some states, including California and Oregon, offer annual open enrollment for Medigap. But to quality, you must already have a Medicare supplement plan and be applying for a change to an equal or lesser benefit plan.
Contact the Medigap insurers in your state to learn whether they will sell you a policy outside of the protected enrollment period.
Of course, you can always shop medicare supplement prices any time of the year to see if you can save money on your current coverage.
If You’re Under 65
There’s no need to wait. If you’ve applied for Medicare early and know your Medicare claim number, you can submit a Medigap application ahead of your Part B effective date. It’s still treated as an open enrollment, giving you guaranteed rights. It’s a good idea to start thinking about your Medigap plan well in advance and lock it in before your birthday month.
Additionally, if you have a disability, you may qualify for Medicare early, triggering the six-month open enrollment window, starting when your Plan B is effective. Note that when you turn 65, you will get a second six-month window to enroll.
Switching Or Cancelling Plans
You have a 30-day window in which to cancel your Medigap policy for a full refund if it doesn’t meet your needs. After the first 30 days, you can still cancel your policy, but you may not be able to switch plans with guaranteed issue.
Without guaranteed issue rights, you may be charged higher monthly premiums based on your health history and pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies may also have the right to deny you outright. That’s why it’s so important to carefully consider your options and speak with an agent before making your decision.