Medicare Supplement OEP
The best time to buy a Medicare Supplement policy is during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. After this period, your options to buy a Med Supp (Medigap) policy may be limited and the policy may cost more. Many people are not even aware of what the Medicare Supplement OEP is.
The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is an opportunity for individuals enrolled in both Medicare Part A & Part B to enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan without facing medical underwriting or higher premiums based on their health conditions. This means, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage or charge you higher premiums based on either your health status or pre-existing conditions. This is very important for individuals with pre-existing health conditions, as they can secure coverage at a reasonable cost without facing medical underwriting or risk being denied a policy.
When is the Medicare Supplement OEP:
The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period begins the first day of the month their Medicare Part B is in effect. For many people, this is the first day of the month they turn 65.
This is a 6-month period that starts the first day of the month you’re 65 or older and signed up for Part B. Once this time passes, there are fewer options to buy a Med Supp (Medigap) policy and the policy could cost more.
For example: If Medicare Part B coverage begins on June 1st. then, the Medicare Supplement OEP starts on June 1st and continues for six months. This means, it will end December 31st.
Those who delay enrollment in Medicare Part B due to creditable coverage through their large employer group plan will have their Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period when they lose group coverage and enroll in Medicare Part B.
In some situations, there is a second opportunity for an OEP:
- If you are under 65 and have Medicare coverage due to a disability, there are 2 Medicare Supplement OEPs available to you. The first is when your Part B coverage starts before you turn 65. The next one starts when you turn 65.
- Some individuals enroll in Medicare Part B and then choose to go back to work and receive employer coverage so they stope their Part B at that time. Once they decide to retire again, they will re-enroll in Part B and therefore you start a new OEP.
You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan outside your OEP however, answering questions about your health history and medications is a regular practice. Your answers to these questions will determine if you the carrier accepts you into the plan or not. This means, the key to enrolling in a Med Supp plan is; passing underwriting.
To avoid underwriting altogether, it is best to apply for Medigap coverage during your Medicare Supplement OEP.