Medicare Supplement Enrollment Vs. Annual Open Enrollment: What’s the Difference?
But if you’re looking to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, you do need to plan ahead. The answer to the question “when is Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment?” is not as simple as the answer to “when is Open Enrollment for general insurance?” The latter comes around every year, but you only have one chance for open enrollment into a Medicare Supplement Plan.
Your personal Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period begins on the first day that your Part B goes into effect and lasts for 6 months. So, if your Medicare Part A and B coverage begins on June 1, then you will have until November 30th of that year to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan. Be aware that you do not have to wait until your Part B coverage kicks in to apply for your Medicare Supplement Plan – you can submit your application as soon as you know your Medicare claim number. With a little planning ahead, you can avoid any gaps in your coverage!
But you can avoid answering any health questions if you apply during your Open Enrollment. In this 6-month window, your insurance company must accept your application and offer you coverage, no matter your health status. So you can see how important it is that you take advantage of your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.
Are There Any Second Chances?
Knowing about your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is important if you want to make sure to get the best coverage at the best price. But there are some circumstances under which you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan without underwriting outside of your initial Open Enrollment Period. For example:
If you were eligible for Medicare before you were 65 (due to disability), then you will have a second Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period open up to you when you turn 65.
If you are still working at 65 and enrolled in both Original Medicare AND a group health insurance plan, then you will most likely not be purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan during your Open Enrollment Period. In this case, when you retire and drop your employer-based health plan, you will be given a 63-day guaranteed issue (GI) period during which you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan without answering any health questions. Be aware, though, that Plan G, which is one of the most popular Medicare Supplement Plans, is NOT guaranteed issue in this situation.
Some states, like California and Oregon, have an Annual Open Enrollment for Medicare Supplement Plans. This enrollment window is usually 30 days out of the year. Don’t rely on this option, though: the catch is that you can only change your plan without going through the underwriting process – you cannot enroll for the first time.
If you’re approaching 65, now’s the time to start making your Medicare plan. Know your Enrollment Periods, and apply as early as you can so that you don’t end up with any gaps in coverage. And don’t forget to research Medicare Supplement Plans! They are a vital part of keeping you both physically and financially healthy as you head into your golden years. If you’re unsure where to start, talk to one of My MedaHealth knowledgeable agents. We’ll answer all of your questions, get you all the quotes for all the plans available to you, and find you the perfect coverage – and we’ll do it all for free! Get started with us today!