Why Apply For Medigap During Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period
Most Medicare beneficiaries apply for a Medigap policy before or during their Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which starts when your Medicare Part B becomes effective. Medigap doesnt have annual enrollment periods. Your open window to apply is specific to you.
If you apply before or during your Open Enrollment Period, the insurer cant deny your application and must give you the best rate for your age. If you apply before your Open Enrollment Period, you can have the Medigap policy start the same date as Medicare Part B. Keep in mind, however, that the insurer may impose a waiting period for preexisting conditions.
If you sign up after your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, things can get a little tricky. Medigap insurance companies are legally allowed to:
- Ask you to go through medical underwriting a process to figure out your health status
- Charge you a higher premium than someone whod signed up during their Medigap Open Enrollment Period
- Subject you to a preexisting condition waiting period for up to six months of your policy
- Refuse to sell you a Medicare Supplement plan
Avoiding Or Reducing The Waiting Period
In some cases, you can either avoid or reduce a waiting period for a preexisting condition. For example, if you are replacing particular types of health insurance that count as “creditable coverage,” the waiting period can be eliminated or shortened.
Generally, if you had any other health insurance that covered your preexisting condition before applying for a Medigap policy, this will count as creditable coverage. In cases where you had at least six months of continuous creditable coverage without a break in coverage of more than 63 days, there is no waiting period.
Learn more about what to do if you might encounter a waiting period for Medigap in the article, “Does Medicare Cover Preexisting Conditions?“
Understanding The Waiting Period For A Pre
Federal law doesnt require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions for the first six months. The six-month waiting period is also known as the look-back period, meaning insurers can delay coverage for health conditions that you sought treatment for before applying. During this waiting period, Part A and Part B continue to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Once the waiting period ends, the Medigap policy covers costs like deductibles and copays. Its important to understand what the waiting period might mean for your health care needs.
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Note: If You Live In Massachusetts Minnesota Or Wisconsin Medigap Policies Are Standardized In A Different Way
MEDIGAP DEDUCTIBLE AMOUNT FOR HIGH DEDUCTIBLE POLICY OPTIONS The 2019 deductible amount for Medigap high deductible plans F & J is $2,300.00. The high deductible amount for Medigap plans F and J is updated each year and is based on the August CPI-U figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The full text of the announcement is available on the CMS website at: . This figure represents the out-of-pocket expense, excluding premiums that a beneficiary must incur before the policy begins paying any benefits. Under the high deductible option, policies pay 100% of covered out-of-pocket expenses once the deductible has been satisfied in a year. Note, the high deductible option for benefit packages F or J was added by Section 4032 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Sec. 1882 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395ss.
What Does Medicare Supplement Insurance Cover
Medicare Supplement Insurance helps cover some costs not paid by Original Medicare Part A and B. These plans help pay copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for your Part A and Part B , as well as additional out-of-pocket costs for things like hospitalization, doctors services, home health care, lab costs, durable medical equipment, and more.
Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health costs. Then, your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan will pay its share of the costs it covers.
There are a wide range of Medicare Supplement plans that differ in coverage and costs, from basic to comprehensive. Compare Medicare Supplement plans
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Exception: Grandfathered Plans Dont Have To Cover Pre
- You can switch to a Marketplace plan that will cover them during Open Enrollment.
- You can buy a Marketplace plan outside Open Enrollment when your grandfathered plan year ends, and youll qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Can There Still Be A Waiting Period For Medigap Even If I Get It Within Six Months Of Signing Up For Part B
Even if you get a Medigap policy within your six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies are legally allowed to make you wait for coverage to begin in one specific situation: if you have a pre-existing condition that was diagnosed in the last six months, they are allowed to delay coverage for treatments based on that pre-existing condition.
So, for example, if you were diagnosed with diabetes two months before applying for Medigap, the insurance company may choose not to cover copays or deductibles for diabetes treatments for up to six months. Keep in mind, however, that doesnt mean you dont have coverage for your pre-existing condition. Since Medigap supplements Original Medicare, your pre-existing condition will still be covered by Medicare. But your copays, deductibles, or coinsurance costs may be on you.
However, there is a way to avoidor at least reducethis waiting period.
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The Insurance Company Quotes You At A Higher Price For A Medigap Policy
If this is your situation, consider whether you can afford the higher price. If you can, go for it.
You could also get quotes for the same plan from other companies, which may offer it for a different price.
Another option is to consider a Medigap plan that doesnt offer as many benefits, which will generally result in lower premiums.
You can do all this plan comparison on your own, but it may be easier to call a representativesee the number below if thats your preferred method.
What If I Didnt Enroll In Medigap During My Medigap Open Enrollment Period
Its pretty clear the best time to buy a Medicare Supplement plan is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, when you cant be discriminated against for a Medigap policy based on your health. But if you missed that window, what should you do?
If you have pre-existing conditions, your chances of getting a Medigap policy after the MOEP ends may seem bleak, but thats not necessarily the case. First, check to see if you could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period , which comes with Medigap protectionsmeaning you wouldnt be subject to medical underwriting. Read more about these scenarios on Medicare.gov.
But say you dont qualify for Medigap protections. Then what? Here are a few possible outcomes if you apply for a policy, as well as some of your options:
What Is The Medicare Supplement Waiting Period
For up to six months after your Medicare Supplement plan begins, your new plan can choose not to cover its portion of payments for preexisting conditions that were treated or diagnosed within six months of the start of the policy. This forces you to pay out-of-pocket for standard Medicare costs like Medicare Part Bs 20% coinsurance. After six months, the plan will cover those payments.
Keep in mind that:
- Medicare Supplement plans must continue to cover medical costs for new ailments and injuries during your waiting period.
- Original Medicare does not have waiting periods for preexisting conditions.
- Even if you are subject to a Medigap waiting period due to your previous medical history, your Medicare plan will still cover its portion of care for your preexisting condition during this time. And after six months, your Medicare Supplement plan will kick in as well.
- Most people will not have any waiting period .
Can You Enroll In A Medicare Supplementplan With A Pre
When it comes to enroll in Medicare Supplement plans with a pre-existing condition, youre may have to wait up to six months before you start receiving coverage. Under the law, Medicare Supplement plan providers can only delay your coverage for health conditions that were treated or diagnosed within six months before your Medigap coverage starts.
Your best plan of action is to apply for a Medicare Supplement plan during open enrollment, which starts on the first day of the month youre at least 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. It lasts six months. As a benefit, your guaranteed issue rights are 100% guaranteed during this period, and you can enroll without having to experience a waiting period. Outside of it, you will only have guarantee issued rights in certain situations. If you purchase Medigap coverage during the period when you have guaranteed issue rights, the insurance company cannot place a pre-existing waiting period on you.
Along with avoiding the pre-existing condition waiting period, if you enroll in Medigap coverage within six months of signing up for Original Medicare, you can ensure you will be covered for any healthcare expenses that arise because of your pre-existing condition. The longer you wait to enroll, the more healthcare expenses you may have to pay out-of-pocket. Original Medicare will still cover you, but it may not pay for things like coinsurance, copayments, or if you are receiving treatment for an excluded condition.
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Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage that is partially subsidized by the federal government. To be eligible, you must be entitled to benefits under Medicare Part A and/or enrolled under Part B. You must choose a plan, enroll, and pay a monthly premium to get the coverage. If you have limited income and resources, you may get this coverage for little or no cost by applying for the Low Income Subsidy.
To take advantage of this coverage, you may join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that covers prescription drugs only and keep Original Medicare or you can join a Medicare Advantage Plan that also offers prescription drug coverage.
Your Next Steps With Medicare Supplement
If you want a Medicare Supplement plan, its best to sign up during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Not only will you avoid medical screening and underwriting, you can get the best rate for your age. If you have a preexisting condition and had prior coverage, check the terms of the plan you want to make sure your previous insurance qualifies you for a shorter wait.
If youre looking for Medicare Supplement insurance outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment window, you still have options, but they may be limited. In certain situations listed above, such as moving out of a plans service area you can still avoid the waiting period.
Its best to check with multiple companies to save money and time. Different companies may have lower prices or easier enrollment guidelines. So while one company may deny coverage for your preexisting condition, a broker can guide you to others that wont.
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Guaranteed Access After Open Enrollment
Once the open enrollment period ends, consumer protections shrink for those with pre-existing conditions. There are only five situations that give you guaranteed access to Medicare Supplement insurance after open enrollment. If any of those five situations apply to you, you have what is referred to as a guaranteed issue right. If you have a guaranteed issue right, an insurance company must sell you a Medigap policy, must cover all pre-existing conditions, and cannot charge you more because of your pre-existing condition.
You have a guaranteed issue right in the following five situations:
Guaranteed issue rights protect you, but they must be utilized quickly. In order to qualify for a Medigap policy without underwriting, you must apply no later than 63 calendar days after your previous health coverage ends.
What Might Not Be Covered
All Medicare Supplement insurance plans cover Medicare Part A coinsurance for up to 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up. If you are in a pre-existing condition waiting period and you are hospitalized for a car accident, which is not a pre-existing condition for you, your Medicare Supplement insurance plan may cover your hospital coinsurance. However, for example, if you are in a pre-existing condition waiting period and you are hospitalized for an asthma-related health problem and asthma is a pre-existing condition for you, you may have to pay your hospital coinsurance out-of-pocket. Original Medicare may still pay a portion of your hospital costs.
The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these eHealth Insurance Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.
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Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Pre
For the first six months after you enroll, a Medicare Supplement plan can cover the Part A coinsurance when the visit doesnt relate to the pre-existing condition. A visit relating to a pre-existing condition wont have coverage.
Although Medicare will pay some of the hospital bills, you pay the rest. This is because Medicare doesnt have a pre-existing condition waiting period like Medigap. Those with a pre-existing condition enrolling in or changing Medigap plans outside of the OEP need to budget to ensure theyre able to cover any medical costs for six months.
Does Medigap Insurance Cover Pre
Medigap is supplemental insurance you can purchase to complement your Original Medicare coverage. Medigap plans increase your coverage for costs under Original Medicare such as copays, deductibles, coinsurance, and others, depending on which plan you purchase.
Medigap plans are regulated by the federal government and sold by private insurance companies. As such, Medicare offers protections for people who purchase a Medicare Supplement plan, most commonly during a specific timeframethe six months after you apply for Part B at age 65 . This once-in-a-lifetime period is the critical time to buy a Medigap policy because, besides this window, there are typically only a few other scenarios where you have protections for pre-existing conditions.
This six-month period, called the Medigap Open Enrollment Period , ensures the insured wont be subject to medical underwriting . Outside of that six-month window after you sign up for Part B, insurance companies have the liberty to medically underwrite your policy based on pre-existing conditions .
Here are a few examples of the medical underwriting allowed by Medigap issuers if you buy a Medigap plan outside of your 6-month MOEP:
- A company may charge you more for a policy.
- A company may require you to wait up to six months before your policy begins.
- A company may deny you a policy altogether.
There is one tricky bit of fine print regarding pre-existing conditions during the MOEP, however.
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End Stage Renal Disease Exceptions
ESRD is a condition in which a persons kidneys no longer function, and they require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Those with ESRD can qualify for Medicare before the age of 65, as long as they meet specific requirements relating to dialysis.
Having this preexisting condition means that a person will usually get their coverage through Original Medicare only. However, a few exceptions exist in relation to Medicare Advantage .
If a person had Medicare Advantage before a doctor diagnosed them with ESRD, they would still be eligible to remain on their current plan.
They could also choose to switch to a different plan with the same insurer.
A person may also qualify for a new Medicare Advantage plan if their kidney transplant was successful, and they no longer require dialysis, or if they wish to join a specialized plan for those with certain medical conditions.
How The Preexisting Condition Waiting Period Works
The insurance company can exclude coverage for the preexisting condition if the condition was treated or diagnosed within six months before the coverage starts under the Medigap policy.
If youre subject to a preexisting condition waiting period, the insurance company can make you wait for up to six months before it will cover your out-of-pocket costs for that condition. Once the waiting period expires, then the Medigap policy covers the preexisting condition.
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Avoiding The Medicare Supplement Waiting Period For Preexisting Conditions
Theres a good chance that you wont have a Medicare Supplement Waiting Period. Heres why:
Your Recent Insurance
By law, Medicare Supplement plans must shorten any preexisting condition waiting period by the number of months you had directly leading up to your enrollment. Fortunately, most forms of health insurance are considered to be creditable.
Your creditable coverage grants you a one-for-one exchange for up to six months. This means your preexisting condition waiting period is reduced one month for each month you were enrolled in creditable coverage prior to signing up for your Medicare Supplement plan.
So, if you had creditable coverage for four months before enrolling, you may only have a two-month waiting period imposed on your plan.
If you maintained six or more months of prior creditable coverage, the Medicare Supplement provider may not impose a waiting period but must cover all your preexisting medical conditions when the policy becomes effective. However, if you did not have creditable coverage more than 63 days before getting a Medicare Supplement plan, then the Medigap company can impose a waiting period.
Switching Medicare Supplement Plans
If you successfully switch between Medicare Supplement plans, then your new plan cannot exclude coverage for any preexisting conditions.
Under 65 Years Old