Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment - When To Buy Medigap Plans

By: Agnus Smith
Published: Tuesday, September 11 2018
Last Updated: 5 years ago

Medicare is one of the most comprehensive health insurance options available for seniors, along with one of the most affordable. However, even with Original Medicare covering the majority of your healthcare costs, there are still out-of-pocket expenses to worry about, which is where Medicare Supplement plans come into play. Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans can save you money, but you need to make sure you enroll on time. Here’s what you need to know about your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.

Open Enrollment For Medicare Supplemental Plans

Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period begins on the first day of the month in which you turned age 65 or older and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this period you can purchase Medicare supplement insurance even if you have pre-existing medical conditions.

It’s important to note that unlike the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and health insurance Open Enrollment Period, Medigap plans don’t have a set time frame in which you can enroll in supplemental coverage every year. Rather, it’s specific to the individual, so it’s important not to miss out on your chance to get additional coverage to cover out-of-pocket expenses left by Original Medicare.

Can You Get Supplemental Plans Outside Your Medigap Open Enrollment?

It depends on the person, but there is a chance that you will not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement plan outside of the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. If you are able to qualify for a Medigap plan outside your 6-month window, chances are that you will end up paying significantly more.

The reason being is outside the Open Enrollment Period, health insurance or Medigap insurance companies is allowed to use medical underwriting to determine whether or not they will accept applicants, and how much they will charge them. The older we get, the more of a risk we become, so finding coverage becomes more and more difficult, unless you enroll in a Medigap plan as soon as you become eligible.

When can You Change Plans?

For the most part, you will have the same restrictions for enrolling in a Medigap plan apply to switch Medicare Supplemental plans. During your 6 months Open Enrollment, you are free to switch, drop, or enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan, but outside that window, things get tricky.

There are some exceptions to the rule though, and here’s when you can switch coverage:

  • You Medigap insurance company is willing to let you switch policies, or willing to sell you a new policy.
  • You have a guaranteed issue right such as your insurer misled you or committed fraud.
  • Your state has lenient legislation about enrolling and switching Medigap plans.

What Happens if You Miss Open Enrollment?

If you miss your Open Enrollment you may be able to purchase what is known as a Medicare Select policy in certain states. This type of plan allows you to change to a different Medigap plan within a 12-month period, or you may be eligible for any of the reasons stated above.

Where to Find Medicare Supplement Plans?

Medigap plans are sold and administered by private insurance companies, which means you have a couple of different options. You can either spend your time talking to each company individually to compare rates or, you can use free quote and comparison tools like FirstQuote Medicare to find the perfect Medigap plan.

Types Of Medigap Plans Available

There are 10 different standardized Medicare Supplement plans categorized from plans A to N. These plans are available for an additional premium based on factors such as state, zip code, and county where you reside. Additional factors which are considered in determining the premium for a Medicare Supplement plan are gender and cigarette smoking.

Some of the plans have a high-deductible option. For example, Plan F offers a high deductible plan which requires payment of $2,240 before the Medigap plan starts to pay for covered services. Monthly premiums for plan F usually run between $120 and $140 per month. Other plans, like Plan N, pay 100% of copays for doctor’s office visits except for certain specialists where the copay is $20. The average monthly premium for plan N is $200 per month.

Find Your Medicare Supplement Plan With FirstQuote Medicare

FirstQuote Medicare is an industry leading service that helps individuals, like yourself, find and compare Medicare Supplement plans and quotes. Taking the pain and hassle out of your Medigap search, all you have to do is enter your zip code, answer a few questions, and within minutes you will be able to see available plans nearby. You can also talk to an experienced agent for free. Get started by entering your zip code here, or any form you see and find the perfect Medicare Supplemental plan today!