Are you turning 65 soon? Or retiring and losing employer-based insurance? If one or both of those situations describes you, then you may be in “open enrollment” for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan. Open enrollment is an important time because you can sign up for a Medigap plan with no pre-existing condition restrictions. There is no underwriting, and you cannot be declined for coverage or made to pay more because of your health.
So, if you are turning 65 soon, what are the steps that you should take to prepare for and pick a plan:
- First of all, let’s deal with Medicare itself. In most cases, Medicare “knows” who you are and that you are turning 65. You should receive your red, white and blue Medicare card by mail 2-3 months before your Medicare will start. Medicare always starts on the 1st day of the month that you turn 65, unless you turn 65 on the 1st of a month, in which case your Medicare will start on the 1st day of the preceding month. If you have not received your Medicare card, by 45-60 days from when your Medicare should be starting, contact Medicare or Social Security immediately to find out if they have the correct information (DOB, address, etc).
- Once you have Medicare set up (or even before in some cases), you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. First of all, compare these plans in an unbiased way. The easiest way to do this is to compare via a broker or independent agent, who can provide information for multiple plan options in a centralized, unbiased place (my favorite independent agency: Medicare-Supplement.US). Since plans are standardized, you can easily compare the options based on price and company reputation.
- Once you have thoroughly compared the plan options, you can easily select a plan and apply. It is advisable to do this at least 3-4 weeks before you want the plan to take effect, as it does take some time to process a Medigap enrollment. Once you have enrolled in a plan, you’ll receive a policy and a card from the agent or company you selected.
If you have any questions about Medicare itself or anything related to Medicare Supplements (Medigap) or Part D, please contact us at 877.506.3378 or visit our website at: http://medicare-supplement.us.