top of page

When am I eligible to join or change
Medigap plans?

You can change your Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan anytime during the year, but there are a few things you should know before you do so.

You can enroll in a Medigap plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. If you apply for or change Medigap plans outside of your Medigap OEP, you may have to go through medical underwriting unless you qualify for a Medicare guaranteed issue right, depending on what state you live in.

What is the Open Enrollment Period?

Your Medicare supplement open enrollment is 6 months long. It begins the month you turn 65 or the month you start Medicare Part B for the first time, whichever happens last.

During your open enrollment period you are able to join a Medicare Supplement and are guaranteed coverage regardless of your health. This means that insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you more for a policy based on your health or pre-existing conditions.

Example 1:

If you are turning 65 and are already retired (or your job does not offer insurance), you would most likely want to have your Medicare Part B begin at the same time as your 65th birthday month.

Example 2:

If you are turning 65, you are still working and you wish to continue your group plan, in most cases, you would want to delay your Part B start date until you retire/go off of your employer coverage.

 

Regardless of how long you continue working, when you do decide to retire you can sign up for Part B and you will be able to join a Medigap plan without having to answer any health questions.

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is not to be confused with the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
 
During the Medicare AEP, you can enroll in, change, or drop your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or your Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan.
 
AEP does not apply specifically to Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.

If your Medigap Open Enrollment Period has passed, you may still be able to apply for or change your Medigap plan without medical underwriting if you qualify for a Medigap guaranteed issue right.

What is a guaranteed issue right?

There are certain situations in which you can change Medigap plans or purchase a new Medigap plan without being subject to medical underwriting. These situations are called guaranteed issue rights.
You may qualify for a Medigap guaranteed issue right any time of year if you fit one of the following descriptions:
  • You currently have a Medicare Advantage plan that is leaving Medicare or ending coverage in your area.

  • You have a Medicare Advantage plan, and you are moving out of the plan's service area

  • You have Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare), and you need to replace an employer health plan that will soon be discontinued.

  • You have Original Medicare and a Medicare SELECT policy, and you move out of the policy's service area.

  • You joined a Medicare Advantage plan or a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) when you were first eligible for Medicare Part A at 65, and within the first year of joining you want to switch to Original Medicare.

  • You dropped a Medigap policy to join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, and within the first year of joining you want to switch back to Medigap.

  • Your Medigap insurance company goes bankrupt or ends your policy through no fault of your own.

  • You leave a Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap policy because the company misled you or did not follow federal Medicare rules.

bottom of page