The limited period to enroll in a Medigap policy is called the “Medigap Open Enrollment Period” (OEP). The Medigap OEP is a six-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. This period is also known as Medigap’s Initial Enrollment.
During this limited period, insurance companies are required to sell you a Medigap plan regardless of your health status. They cannot deny you coverage or charge you more because of pre-existing conditions.
So just to reiterate, if you enroll in a Medigap policy during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you will have guaranteed issue rights. This means that the insurance company must sell you the Medigap policy you want and cannot charge you more because of your health status.
When is my Medigap Initial Open Enrollment Period?
For most people who have already enrolled in Medicare Part B, the Open Enrollment period starts the first of the month of your 65 birthday. Not sure if this applies to you? Check out our Medicare Deadline Calculator which gives you a custom timeline when you enroll in Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Part D drugs.
Does Medigap’s Limited Enrollment Period apply to Medicare Advantage?
Medigap’s Initial Open Enrollment Period does not apply to Medicare Advantage plans. Just to confuse matters, Medicare Advantage plans have a shorter initial enrollment period and also have an Annual Election Period (which most call Open enrollment) for switching Medicare Advantage plans (October 15 to December 7 of each year). In most states, Medigap does not have an annual election period for Open Enrollment.
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Why is Medigap Limited Initial Open Enrollment Period important?
You definitely want to consider your options and make a decision during this limited period, as it can be more difficult and expensive to enroll in a Medigap policy outside of the initial open enrollment period. Most people only have one shot to enroll in Medigap without health review. If you try to apply for Medigap 6 months after your Part B effective date, and you don’t qualify for Special Medigap Enrollment, you will most likely have to answer health questions before they will approve you. Insurance providers can charge you more if you apply outside your limited initial enrollment period. Senior65.com can help you compare costs and help you apply so you do not miss your limited enrollment period.