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Can I get Medicare Supplement Plans Anytime?

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In general, there isn’t a Medicare plan type that you can enroll in at “any time.” Enrollment windows apply to all kinds of Medicare coverage, including Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. There are annual open enrollment periods for other types of Medicare plans, such as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription medication plans. Open enrollment for Medicare Supplements is, however, more constrained.

 

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When can I enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan?

Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period can be the ideal opportunity to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan. This six-month period starts on the first day of the month that you become 65 or older and sign up for Medicare Part B.

Suppose your birthdate is August 31, 1953, making your 65th year of age in 2018. Three months before your birthday, you can sign up for Medicare Part B, allowing you to begin coverage in May 2018. However, you won’t be 65 until May 2018, so the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period won’t apply to you. August 1, 2018, marks the beginning of the month when you turn 65 and sign up for Medicare Part B. Your open enrollment period for Medicare Supplement coverage would end on February 1, 2019.

The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is crucial because, during this period, insurance providers of Medicare Supplement plans are not permitted to conduct medical underwriting. Your medical underwriting may reject you based on a health issue after taking into account your medical circumstances and the costs to cover you. You could potentially have any health issue during your Medicare Supplement open enrollment period and yet be accepted into a Medicare Supplement plan.

The plan may deny your application for Medicare Supplement or charge you more if you submit it after your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period has ended, depending on your medical history.

 

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How do I enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan if I am under 65?

Medicare enrollees under the age of 65 are typically not eligible for Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Periods, and insurance firms are not required by federal law to sell Medicare Supplement plans to those under the age of 65. You can apply at any time for a Medicare Supplement plan if you have Medicare and are under 65. However, you often need to have a disability or severe health condition to be eligible for Medicare when you’re under 65. A Medicare Supplement plan may reject your application after considering your disability or medical condition and the cost of your insurance.

For eligible people under 65, some states offer an open enrollment period. Consult the rules with your state’s insurance department if you’re under 65.

Are there other times I can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan?

If you have “guaranteed issue” rights, you might be eligible to enroll in another Medicare Supplement plan even if it is outside of your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. A plan cannot reject to provide coverage, refuse to pay for pre-existing conditions, or make you wait for coverage if you have guaranteed issue rights. You may be eligible for assured issue rights in the following circumstances:

  • Your Medicare Supplement plan defrauded you or engaged in fraud.
  • The Medicare Supplement plan you had failed.
  • To use your trial period for a Medicare Advantage plan, you canceled your Medicare Supplement plan. After less than a year, you want to switch back.
  • Your local healthcare is no longer offered by your Medicare Advantage plan.
  • You leave the coverage region of your Medicare Advantage plan

Would you like to look for a local Medicare Supplement plan? Simply enter your zip code here.

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