Medicare Supplement plans do not have annual enrollment periods, so it is important to know when to apply for one. The Medicare Supplement initial enrollment period is the time to sign up for a plan. It is important to utilize this period if you need help paying Part B costs, or if you have pre-existing conditions you need covered. During this time, you have guaranteed issue rights. This is your guarantee that companies will cover your pre-existing conditions without extra charge. What most people do not know is that you can also obtain guaranteed issue rights during a special enrollment period.
- Must be 65 and already be enrolled in the original Medicare Parts A and B to qualify
Best time to enroll
The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment period. This six-month period starts on first day of the month that you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Throughout this period, you can enroll in any Medicare Supplement plan offered in your service area with guaranteed issue. This means that insurance companies are not allowed to deny you or charge you more due to pre-existing conditions. If you have medical issues or disabilities, it’s especially important to take advantage of this period.
Special Enrollment Period
Guaranteed issue right means that companies must sell you a policy at the best available rate, regardless of your health status and cannot deny you coverage. If you miss your initial enrollment period, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan with guaranteed issue rights during a special enrollment period. The situations to be eligible for a special enrollment are:
- Your Medicare Supplement insurance company goes bankrupt and you lose your coverage, or your Medicare Supplement policy coverage ends through no fault of your own.
- You’re enrolled in Original Medicare and your employer coverage is ending.
- You drop a Medicare Supplement policy or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan because the company did not follow the contractual obligations, commits fraud, or misled you.
- You have Original Medicare and a Medicare SELECT plan and you move out of your plan’s service area.
- You’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or PACE organization and move out of the plan’s service area, or your Medicare Advantage plan leaves the Medicare program.
- You joined a Medicare Advantage plan, and within the first year of joining you want to switch to Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement.
You will run into problems if you try to buy a Medicare Supplement policy outside of your protected enrollment periods. Companies can refuse to sell you a policy, or will only let you buy one if you meet certain medical requirements. If an insurance company does agree to sell you a policy you will need to pay a higher monthly premium. You will also need to wait six months before the plan will cover pre-existing conditions.
What it covers:
All Medicare Supplement plans cover at least part of:
- Your Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles
- Skilled nursing facility costs after you run out of Medicare-covered days
- Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs (up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used)
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
- Part B excess charges
- Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
- Blood (first 3 pints)
- After January 1, 2006, Medicare Supplement plans are not allowed to include prescription drug coverage. If you would like prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Part D plan.
- The cost of your Medicare Supplement policy depends on the type of plan you buy, the insurance company, your location, and your age.
- A standardized Medicare Supplement policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems, as long as you pay your premiums on time.
- People who have a Medicare Advantage plan cannot get a Medicare Supplement plan.
- A Medicare Supplement policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medicare Supplement, then you must each purchase separate policies.
- You can buy a Medicare Supplement policy from any insurance company that is licensed to sell one in your state.
Need help deciding if and when you can sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan? Here at EZ.Insure we are dedicated to helping you find the plan that is right for you. You will speak directly with one of our trained agents at any time by calling 888-753-7207, or emailing us at Replies@EZ.insure. If you want to see quotes now you can put your zip in the bar above to get started. We will help you with any questions or concerns you have, free of charge!