Medicare Supplement | Enrollment

Enrolling in a Medicare Supplement

The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement is during your open enrollment period.  This period begins the first of the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B, but there are other circumstances for an "open enrollment" continue reading for details.

Example

If you turn 65 and enrolled in Part B in July, your open enrollment period for a Medicare Supplement would be July - December.

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If you are working after the age of 65 and have group coverage you can put Part B on hold.  Your open enrollment period for Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Wisconsin would then start after you drop or lose your group coverage and start Part B.

If you do put your Part B on hold you will need to show proof of creditable coverage.  Having group coverage through an employer or spouse is the only way to avoid the "Late Enrollment Penalty". ​

Example

If your group health insurance ends May 31st, you would enroll in Medicare Part B with an effective date of 01 June.  Your open enrollment for your Medicare Supplement would then begin June 1st.

Open Enrollment on Disability

If your on Medicare before age 65 because of disability, in Wisconsin you will get a new Medicare Supplement open enrollment period when you turn 65.  The Medicare Supplement insurance company cannot deny you for any pre-existing conditions, and it is guaranteed issue.

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If you decide to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during the open enrollment period, your supplemental insurance company cannot deny you coverage simply because of a pre-existing condition.

If you do not have any creditable health insurance for the the 63 days prior to signing up for a Medicare Supplement, the Medicare supplemental insurance company can, however, impose a waiting period before any treatment for that particular pre-existing condition is covered.

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Preexisting Condition Waiting Period

If you do not have health insurance for 63 days prior to signing up for a Medicare Supplement, the supplemental policies may require that you wait six months after your Medigap policy date before they will cover your pre-existing conditions.

Although that seems unfair, you should remember that your Original Medicare must still pay its portion of your preexisting condition medical costs while you are waiting for the Medicare Supplement policy to pay its portion

Avoiding the Preexisting Condition Waiting Period

In many cases, an enrollee can avoid the pre-existing condition waiting period requirement by offering proof of "creditable coverage." Creditable coverage is any other health insurance policy you had before applying for your Medigap coverage.

If you can show that you've had at least six months of continuous creditable coverage, your Medigap insurance company will not enforce the waiting period before they will pay for medical costs that result from pre-existing conditions.

Here are the rules concerning prior creditable coverage:

    • You cannot have a lapse in the coverage for more than 63 days.
    • You must verify that your prior insurance coverage is considered “creditable coverage.”
    •  You must enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan as soon as you’re eligible to do so.

You should not cancel your current coverage until you have confirmed that your new Medigap policy has been approved and issued.

Outside your open enrollment period your Medicare Supplement could cost more due to underwriting and even be denied. There are circumstances that will change your open enrollment period.

To be eligible for medicare supplemental insurance, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B ​

Signing up for Part B

People sometimes confuse any product that they have after enrolling in Medicare as a Medicare Supplement.  This is not true, there are two distinctly  different products.  

  1. Medicare Supplement:  Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is provided by private insurance companies and can help pay most of the healthcare expenses that Original Medicare doesn't cover, such as the coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles.
  2. Medicare Advantage Plan:  Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) is a type of Medicare health plan that is offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide patients with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans typically include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans

You have the one shot at going into a Medicare Supplement with no underwriting, and that is during your open enrollment period that we discussed above.  With no underwriting for Medicare Advantage plans, and that fact that you can enroll every year from October 15th to December 7th during the AEP, we recommend if it is at all possible, that you enroll first in a Medicare Supplement plan during your open enrollment period.

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We are and independent Medicare Supplement agency here in Wisconsin.  Call us anytime at 920-545-4884 for a free unbiased quote for your Medicare Supplement Policy.

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