Medigap insurance is a Medicare supplement plan designed to fill in the “gaps” in Medicare. The top level of coverage pays everything that
Medicare Parts A and B do not cover. The majority of people going on Medicare do elect some type of additional coverage, whether that be insurance through an employer, an actual Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) or some sort of Medicare replacement plan like Medicare Advantage.
The downside to having “only” Medicare is that there is no upper limit “cap” on the amount you will pay under only-Medicare coverage. Generally speaking, you are responsible for 20% of the total costs, whether that is 20% of $100 or 20% of $100,000.
A Medigap plan offers the most comprehensive and flexible coverage of these “gaps” in Medicare. For more information about what the Medigap plans cover, read about Plan G or Plan N. For this article, we are going to discuss when you can sign up for a Medigap plan.
First of all, if you do it at the correct time, signing up for a Medigap plan is easy to do. So, what are the correct times to sign up for a plan?
By far, the best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan is when you first turn 65 or sign up for Medicare Part B. During this time period – which lasts for 6 months from your Medicare Part B start date and is called “open enrollment” – you can sign up for any Medigap plan offered in your state with no underwriting or health questions. It is very easy to sign up and is the best time to do so.
After that initial “open enrollment” period, you can sign up for a Medigap policy at any time. Contrary to popular misconception, there is not an annual “open enrollment” that only comes around once a year during which you can change plans. That time of year, which people commonly refer to as “open enrollment”, is actually the “Annual Election Period” (AEP) for Part D plans, during which you can make changes to, add, or drop your Part D Rx coverage.
So, after the initial 6-month open enrollment window that occurs when you first sign up for Medicare Part B or turn 65 (whichever is later), you can enroll in, or change, your plan at any time. However, when you do so, you do have to “qualify medically” to enroll (in most states). This means you have to answer medical questions on the application in order to be approved for the plan. This is also the case if you elect to go with a Medicare Advantage plan initially – you have to “qualify medically” to switch to a supplement at a later time.
For these reasons, it generally makes the most sense to sign up for a Medigap plan when you are first eligible upon signing up for Medicare Part B. If you have questions about this process or want to get information about the Medigap plans in your area, you can contact us at 877.506.3378 or online at http://medicare-supplement.us.