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Best Time to Buy a Medicare SupplementWhat is a Medicare Supplement plan? (also known as Medigap)

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are standardized plans that cover the gaps in Original Medicare. Medicare Supplement plans allow you to choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare and to see specialists without referrals. Medicare Supplement plans offer nationwide coverage and therefore are perfect for people who travel.

When is the best time to buy a Medicare Supplement policy?

As per the Medicare.gov website:  

“The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your six-month Medigap open enrollment period. During that time, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems. This period automatically starts the month you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you’re able to buy one, it may cost more.”

In general, Medicare Supplement insurance companies are allowed to use medical underwriting to decide if they will accept your application and to set your monthly premium. However, during your six-month open enrollment period, you have the right to buy any Medicare Supplement insurance plan sold in your state regardless of any previous health conditions. Medicare Supplement insurance companies may not deny you coverage or charge you more than a person with good health. 

If you wait until after your open enrollment period to apply for Medicare Supplement insurance coverage there is no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medicare Supplement plan if you do not meet the medical underwriting requirements or are eligible for a Guarantee Issue Period, the Medicare Supplement insurance has no obligation to issue you a policy. 

Summary

During your open enrollment period, no company can refuse to sell you the Medicare Supplement plan of your choice regardless of your health. If you decide to put off buying a Medicare supplement unless you have a Guarantee Issue Right a company can refuse to provide you coverage or if they do issue you, a policy they may charge you a higher premium.

Notes

Medigap and Medicare Supplement are two words for the same thing.

A Medicare Supplement only covers one person.

Once you are covered under a Medicare Supplement plan the insurance company you cannot be singled out for a premium increase. Your plan cannot be canceled unless you stop paying your monthly premium or you were not truthful when you submitted your Medicare Supplement policy application.

Medical underwriting refers to the process insurance companies use to decide, whether to accept your application for insurance, what premium you will pay for that insurance and whether or not to add a waiting period for any pre-existing conditions. Medical underwriting is based on your medical history. 

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