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January 2013
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Medicare Enrollment: When Should I Sign Up for a Medigap Policy?

Now, that we’re done with Medicare Open Enrollment season, we’ve gotten a few emails about signing up for Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) policies and most importantly, whether people have missed their opportunity to sign up for a Medigap policy.

Well, the short answer is no, but signing up for a Medigap policy can be tricky business and missing your window to sign up for a Medigap policy can be very costly. Here’s what you need to know about when to sign up for your Medigap health insurance:

Filling the Gap-What are Medigap health insurance?

Because Medicare does not cover all your healthcare-related costs during retirement, you may want to consider purchasing a supplemental health insurance policy called “Medigap.” Medigap health insurance plans are designed to fill some of the gaps in the coverage of Medicare Parts A and B such as the deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments.

Medigap policies are most beneficial for seniors who need to bridge the co-insurance, co-payments or deductibles in the traditional government Medicare A and B plans. For example, if you have a long hospital stay, a Medigap policy can help you pay the hefty $275/day co-insurance that kicks in after the first 60 days in the hospital. Since Medicare HMO plans have limited co-pays and other gaps, Medigap policies generally aren’t as useful to seniors who are members of a Medicare HMO plan.)

When should I Enroll in a Medigap Policy?

Okay, so here’s the tricky part. The best time to enroll in a Medigap health insurance policy is during your open enrollment period. This isn’t the standard Medicare Open Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7). The Medigap open enrollment period is different for every person, and for most, it’s the first six months after you enroll in Medicare Part B. (A few states also require that a limited open enrollment period be offered to Medicare beneficiaries under age 65.)

During your Medigap open enrollment period, health insurers must sell you any Medigap health insurance plan they offer regardless of your health history and they cannot charge any more for the Medigap than they charge for a healthy person. (A few insurance companies, however, will sell certain Medigap policies at any time, but it’s up to them what they charge.)

Once your Medigap open enrollment period starts, it cannot be stopped, delayed or replaced!!! If you are interested in a Medigap policy, this is by far your best chance to sign up for a Medigap at an affordable rate so do not miss it!

Are you considering a Medigap plan? Tell us about it in our discussion forum!

Related posts:

  1. Medicare Enrollment: When Should I Sign Up For a Medigap Policy?
  2. Medicare Open Enrollment: Are You Considering a Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) Policy?
  3. Medicare Open Enrollment: Are You Considering a Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) Policy?
  4. Medicare Open Enrollment: Have You Considered a Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) Plan?
  5. Do You Need a Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) Policy? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

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