A common question that we hear regarding Medicare is, “When the best time is to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan?”.
First, we need to clarify that a Medicare Supplement Plan (also called a Medigap plan) is a little different from a Medicare Advantage plan in that there are very specific times that you can get a Medicare Supplement without any medical questions being asked. This is different than with a Medicare Advantage plan. You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period each year (October 15-December 7). You cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.
Now let’s focus in on Medicare Supplement plans. There are a few instances where you can purchase these plans without any medical questions being asked. We are going to discuss two of the most common.
The First 6 Months that you are Both Age 65 & Have Part B The first time period that is ideal to purchase a Medicare Supplement is the first six months that you are both 65 and have enrolled in your Part B. For most people, this is going to be right after you turn 65.
For those that might delay their Part B, you will also wait to sign up for a Medical Supplement Plan. This is because it is required to be enrolled in Part A and B to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan. Reasons that you might delay your Part B are:
- You may work past the age of 65
- Your spouse keeps their employer coverage past the age of 65
It is important to determine that your employer coverage is considered “credible coverage” to avoid any late enrollment penalties. This can usually be answered by your company’s HR department.
When when you retire and lose your group coverage, that is the time that you will get your Part B. At that point, you will be able to purchase a Medigap plan with no medical questions asked.
When You Move Out of The Service Area
Now, the second prime time to purchase a Medicare Supplement is if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and you move out of the service area of your plan. This is usually triggered if you move out of your region or state. Moving out of the service area of your plan opens up a guaranteed issue enrollment period for a Medigap Plan, where you will be able to enroll in a plan without any medical questions being asked.
Keep in mind, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement at any time, but you will have medical questions asked and run the risk that they deny your enrollment into the plan. If you have health issues, it may be a little difficult to be accepted into the plan you are selecting. That makes it much more imperative that if you want a Medicare Supplement, be sure you enroll during one of the two prime times listed above.
If you have any questions about Medicare Supplement Plans and the best time to enroll, feel free to reach out! We are always here to help and answer any questions, no matter how big or how small.