Understanding Medigap Enrollment Periods

The one crucial factor about online initial enrollment in Medicare Supplement Plans or Medigap in California is your ability to time your enrollment period when you are turning 65. Medigap policies are always open year round for enrollment at your convenience. However, during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) upon turning 65 as well as any Special Enrollment Period (SEP), you must be enrolled without medical underwriting at the best available preferred rate. In this article, we focus on your enrollment periods that are protected by the federal government.

What are the open enrollment periods?
When you are considering online initial enrollment in Medigap Plans California, you need to enroll at specific times around your 65 th birthday. These are the federally regulated enrollment periods beyond which you might be forced to spend more if you want to get the enrollment done. Under the law, the IEP for Medigap plans begins as soon as you sign up for Medicare Part B, which can be 3 months before the month of your 65 th birthday and lasts until six months after the month that you have turned age 65. The law also requires that insurance companies sell you the Medigap plan you choose at the best available or preferred premium option at the time, regardless of your current health. Denying you coverage amounts to a federal crime that is punishable by law.

The choice of the best available plan is what becomes controversial for many people because it is dependent on many factors. Some of the factors that are considered in determining premium include gender, age, whether or not you smoke, your zip code, and whether or not you are married. The advantage of buying Medigap policies during your IEP is that during this period, you have a guaranteed issuance right and the plan coverage must include pre-existing medical conditions that you had before enrolling in the plan and must be offered to you at preferred rates.

What if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period?
Your IEP upon turning 65 begins 3 months before and lasts until six months after your 65th birthday month. If you miss this enrollment period, you can still apply for online enrollment in Medigap plans in New Jersey, but you will be screened for medical underwriting and may not be offered preferred rates. The same is true for online enrollment in Medigap plans in California.

Only the states of New York and Connecticut offer guaranteed enrollment in Medigap plans year round with no disqualification or underwriting for pre-existing medical conditions. There also is a guaranteed issue right (Special Election Period – SEP) for those who are 65 or older that is within 63 days of when you lose or end other health coverage. For example, this SEP guaranteed issue right also holds if you are over 65, lost a group health plan and it was not your fault that it happened. There are several conditions where you may have an SEP with a guaranteed issue right. Another important SEP that protects you with a guaranteed issue right for online enrollment in Medigap plans in New Jersey or other states occurs if you joined any Medicare Advantage plan for the first time after you became eligible and disenrolled within one year.

There are crucial timing considerations when you want to apply for Medigap policies online. Be sure to check the initial, special and open enrollment periods and bookmark them if necessary to avoid unnecessary costs.

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