As you near 65, or if you are already enrolled in Medicare, you may consider purchasing Medigap coverage to supplement your healthcare benefits. Medigap plans are private insurance policies that offer coverage for some of the gaps in Medicare coverage, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and other out-of-pocket expenses. While you can enroll in a Medigap plan at any time, there are specific periods when you have more options and fewer restrictions. One of those periods is the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Here are 7 things you need to know about Medigap Open Enrollment.
- When is Medigap open enrollment?
Open enrollment for Medigap starts on the first day of the month you turn 65 and are registered in Medicare Part B. However, it is vital to note that if you postpone registering for Medicare Part B, your Medigap Open Enrollment period will also be postponed. For example, if you delay enrolling in Medicare Part B until age 67, your Medigap open enrollment period will begin at age 67 and last for six months.
- What are the benefits of enrolling during open enrollment?
Enrolling in a Medigap plan during the open enrollment period offers several benefits. The most significant advantage is that insurance companies should sell you a policy, regardless of your health status. This means you cannot be denied coverage or charged a higher premium due to pre-existing conditions. Additionally, you can choose any Medigap plan available in your area without medical underwriting during this period. Finally, you have a guaranteed right to renew your policy each year if you pay your premiums on time.
- What are the various types of Medigap plans?
Ten standardized Medigap plans are available in most states. These are labeled A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Each plan provides a different set of benefits and coverage levels. For example, Plan F is the most comprehensive plan and covers almost all Medicare out-of-pocket costs, while Plan N has lower premiums but requires you to pay some copays and deductibles.
- What does Medigap cover?
Some out-of-pocket Medicare costs, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, are covered by Medigap plans. According to your policy, you may also be covered for foreign travel emergencies, skilled nursing facility care, and extra charges. It should be noted, however, that Medigap plans don't cover prescription drugs, dental, vision, or hearing care.
- What doesn't Medigap cover?
Medigap plans do not cover services not covered by Medicare, such as dental, vision, or hearing care. In addition, Medigap plans do not provide coverage for prescription drugs, so you might need to enroll in a separate Part D plan to get coverage for your medications.
- Can you switch between Medigap plans?
You can switch between Medigap plans during specific periods, such as the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. You can also change plans during a special enrollment period if you lose your current coverage, such as when your current Medigap insurer goes bankrupt or move out of your current plan's service area. However, if you switch outside of these periods, you may face medical underwriting and higher premiums.
- How do you enroll in a Medigap plan?
To enroll in a Medigap plan, you'll need to consult a private insurance company that offers Medigap policies in your area. Then, you can work with an insurance agent to find the best plan for your needs. After you've decided on a plan, you must fill out an application and supply details regarding your Medicare coverage and health status. Remember that some states may have additional enrollment requirements, so it's essential to check with your state insurance department to ensure you understand your area's rules.
In conclusion, Medigap open enrollment is essential for anyone considering a Medigap plan. You are given issue rights during these six months, so you won't be refused coverage or billed higher premiums because of your health status. Additionally, you can switch between Medigap plans without medical underwriting. By understanding the options and benefits available during Medigap Open Enrollment, you can make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage and get the protection and peace of mind you need.