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Medigap Enrollment Periods in 2021

It is important to keep Medigap enrollment periods in mind as your Medicare enrollment date approaches.  Read on to learn about the various opportunities you may have to enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance.

When should you enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan?

Enrolling During Your Open Enrollment Period

The most common time for people to enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance is during their Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This is a six-month open enrollment period that starts when you are new to Medicare  (or the month that you turn 65) and are enrolled in Medicare Part B

However, if you are still working when you are 65 or older and choose to delay your Original Medicare enrollment because you have coverage with your employer, your Medigap OEP will begin when you leave your employer’s plan and enroll in Medicare. 

Certain individuals may have more than one Medigap Open Enrollment Period

  • People who retire, enroll in Medicare Part B at 65, then go back to work and enroll in another employer health plan will get a second OEP when they retire again and re-enroll in Part B. 
  • People who get Medicare coverage due to a disability under the age of 65 will have an OEP when they first enroll in Part B and a second OEP when they turn 65.*

Enrolling during your OEP when you are first eligible for Medicare is usually your best option if you are interested in signing up for a Medicare Supplement plan. You may face higher premiums or even be denied enrollment to Medigap plans should you choose to delay your enrollment. 

*In many states, people under the age of 65 who qualify for Medicare aren’t eligible for Medicare Supplement plans, which is why they are granted another OEP when they turn 65.

Enrolling Outside of Your Open Enrollment Period

If you miss your Medigap OEP, you may be able to buy a Medicare Supplement plan later on. However, if you don’t meet medical underwriting requirements, insurance companies aren’t required to sell you Medicare Supplement Insurance.

You don’t have to answer any health questions when enrolling in a Medigap policy during your OEP. But if you try to sign up for Medigap insurance after your OEP has passed, you will have to fill out a medical questionnaire.

This medical underwriting process informs the insurance company of your health history. Carriers have the right to deny you coverage based on your health, meaning that you may not be able to sign up for a Medigap policy.

Your Open Enrollment Period is typically the only time (in most states) that you are fully guaranteed the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. The only exception is if you are granted a guaranteed issue right. Some examples of guaranteed issue rights include moving out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s coverage area and losing your employer coverage.

While there is an annual Open Enrollment Period for people who would like to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, the same is not true for people who want to enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance. That’s why it is so important to understand how and when you should enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan before you turn 65.

If you are nearing the age of 65 and would like to start exploring your Medicare Supplement options, you don’t have to do it alone. Here at Medicare Plans Direct, we help seniors find the ideal Medicare coverage options for them. You can also explore your Medicare Advantage plan options with one of our licensed insurance agents. Reach out to us today to have all of your Medicare questions answered at no extra cost to you.

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