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Open Enrollment

According to the Medicare & You booklet published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), “The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during the 6-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you are both age 65 or older and enrolled in Part B.  (Some states have additional open enrollment periods.)  After this initial enrollment period, your option to buy a Medigap policy may be limited.”

 

The reason the Medicare & You booklet says that this period is “the best time” is that this is the ONE TIME in your life that you KNOW you can buy any company’s Medigap (or Medicare Supplement) policy on a guaranteed-issue basis.  During this ONE TIME in your life, you can purchase ANY of the various plans with absolutely no heath conditions to disqualify you from coverage.  When this open enrollment period ends and for the rest of your life, you could have to answer health questions to see if you qualify for coverage, and your health conditions could cause you to be declined for most companies’ plans.

 

A Medicare Supplement Plan N, however, one of the “modernized” plans introduced for 6-1-10 by the Medicare Improvements for Patient & Providers Act (MIPPA, 2008), asks NO health questions in most states and only the “End Stage Renal Disease” question in other states.  Therefore, it could be possible for you to qualify for a Plan N when you couldn’t medically qualify for any of the other Medicare Supplement plans.

 

As shown above, the Medicare & You booklet also says, “Some states have additional open enrollment periods.”  In Mississippi, for example, the guaranteed-issue period applies even before age 65 in the 6-month period when you first get Part B as a result of a Medicare-approved disability.


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