When it comes to buying a medical insurance policy, you should always consider two things. The first is your probability of being accepted and the second is the ability to pay less or simply the required minimum. You don’t want to be rejected, but if accepted, you also don’t want to be saddled with higher than normal fees. Which brings about the question, when should I buy Medicare Supplement Plans to get the best possible deals. We aim to offer a satisfactory answer to this question and offer you some much needed insight.
Medigap, which is the common name for Medicare Supplement Plans, have a certain time that they can be purchased with the least amount of hustle. This period is called the Open Enrollment Period and everyone has their own. It is a period that lasts for six months and automatically triggers when you turn 65. This period starts the first day of the month during which you turn 65. However, you need to be enrolled in the Medicare Part B first. Let’s look at it from a practical standpoint. If I turn 65 on the 11th of February but don’t join the Medicare Part B policy till April the 13th, then my period kicks off on the 1st of May. It is here that both conditions have been met. The month has just begun, and I am also 65.
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What is the Importance of This Open Enrollment Period?
You may be wondering why such emphasis is laid on this open enrollment period. To best understand this, let’s look at how medical insurance companies work. Legally, all Medigap Insurance companies are allowed to use Underwriting to decide on your eligibility and exactly how much they should charge you. However, during your open enrollment period, these rules do not apply as you are given the legal protection. A Medigap company can thus not
- Charge you higher premium above the normal rate
- Deny you the coverage of your choice
- Delay the period before your coverage kicks in
The Waiting Period
Legally, an insurance company is prohibited from delaying the start of your Medigap insurance policy during your open enrollment period. They are however within their right to issue a waiting period for any coverage that relates to a pre-existing condition. This period depends on the Medigap Insurance Company. During this period, your policy will not cover any of your out of pocket costs resulting from the pre-existing conditions. Your Original Medicare should take care of your condition in the meantime. This period is usually six months. After which, the Medigap should kick in. this only applies for conditions that were diagnosed during your six-month period before your policy kicks in.
Once you buy the Medicare Part B, you Open Enrollment Period automatically kicks in the first month after you turn 65. This means that if you do not take advantage of it, your grace period will pass and so will your right to be given automatic Medigap coverage. If you buy any Medigap policy after this period, there is no guarantee of acceptance, and close to zero chance that you will pay the standard premium if you have a pre-existing medical condition.