When you age into Medicare by turning 65 years old, you cannot be denied supplemental insurance for Medicare. You also can’t be charged extra on account of your medical history. After a few months, supplemental plans will be free to charge you higher prices or deny you outright, depending on which type of supplemental coverage you want to join. So, whether it’s a Medicare Supplement plan or Medicare Advantage coverage, you should not be denied for coverage.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap):
Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period lasts for six months, starting from the 1st day of the month when you’re both 65 and join Medicare Part B. During your Open Enrollment Period, insurers cannot deny you coverage or increase the price of your plan due to medical conditions.
Once your Open Enrollment Period has ended, you’ll only have the guaranteed right to purchase a Medigap plan at the lowest possible rate if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Fortunately, there are many ways to qualify for special enrollment.
Thirty-one states also require Medigap issuers to offer plans to Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65, although not all plans may be available or affordable. In New York and Connecticut, insurers cannot deny or charge extra for Medigap at any time.
Medicare Advantage (Part C):
When you first become eligible for Medicare, you’re granted a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) to sign up for Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are privately-run options that replace your Original Medicare coverage (Parts A & B). Your IEP begins 3 months before the month that you turn 65, and lasts for 3 months after the month you turn 65.
If you missed your IEP, you can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period (AEP). AEP lasts from October 15 to December 7 every year.
In general, you can’t be denied coverage or charged more due to a health condition if you apply for Medicare Advantage during AEP. However, Medicare Advantage plans are not required to accept beneficiaries who qualified for Medicare due to a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease.
Taking the Next Steps