You are about to turn 65 this year! And yes, it is a great time to celebrate. One of the reasons why you should be glad and celebrate because there are perks that will let you enjoy the new phase of your life. Of course, one of those perks is Medicare. Medicare is a health insurance coverage provided by the government that pays for Medicare-approved health care expenses. Having Medicare makes a great difference because you don’t have to shoulder health care expenses alone.
But did you know you can still make your Original Medicare coverage go further? Yes! You read it right; there is an option to make your Medicare coverage wider. Why do you need to? Because Medicare only covers about 80% of your total medical bill, you have to shoulder the remaining 20% which can still be a hefty amount. To help you cover the remaining health care costs not covered by Medicare, you can get a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap, will pay all or part of the remaining Medicare-approved health care expenses. With Medigap, your health care expenses will not be heavy as before. You can enroll in policy during your Medicare Open Enrollment period.
When is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period?
The best time to enroll in Medicare Supplement plan is during your Open Enrollment Period.
This is an important period that is worthy to be noted on your calendar because it only comes once in your lifetime. The Medigap open enrollment period begins when you turn 65 and the Medicare Part B and lasts for just six months. If you turn 65 on June 25, but only got your Medicare part B on July 25, then your Medicare Open Enrollment Period will start on August 1, which is the first day of the month when you re both 65 and have Medicare Part B.
Do know that this period can’t be moved or delayed once it started. You can also check with your state insurance department for more guidelines.
Why is Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period important?
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is important because, during this time, you’ll have guaranteed issue rights. That means Medigap insurance providers cannot do any of the following, even if you have pre-existing conditions or disabilities:
- Decline your Medigap application to the plans they offer.
- Delay the start of your coverage.
- Charge you a higher premium than they do to others.
What if I missed my Medigap Open Enrollment Period?
If you apply for a Medigap Policy after your open enrollment period ends, you will lose your guaranteed issue rights. It means that you will have to undergo underwriting process and there is no guarantee that your Medigap application will be accepted except in some limited events such as:
- Your Medicare Supplement Insurance provider misled you or closes down for life.
- Your Medicare Supplement plan ends but it is not your fault.
- You’re enrolled in Original Medicare and an employer-sponsored group plan, and your employer coverage is ending.
- You’re enrolled in a Medicare SELECT plan (a type of Medigap plan that uses provider networks), and you move out of your plan’s service area.
For more information about the guidelines of Medicare Supplement open enrollment period in your area, head on to Medicare.gov.