Last year (2015) I enrolled in Medicare at age 65. But this is not about me, this is about you. Now that you are ready to retire you are told you can’t get the Medicare supplement plan you want.
What’s up with that?
The lady at the Social Security office told you to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B on your 65th birthday which was 8 months ago. You will retire in two months and want Medicare supplement plan G. But you are told only way to can get plan G is to answer health questions.
You thought Obamacare required insurance companies to take anyone, regardless of their health. Well, you are wrong.
I can understand your confusion. Let’s take a look at how and when to sign up for Medicare when you are approaching age 65.
Enroll in Medicare at Age 65
You should sign up for Medicare Part A 60 – 90 days before you turn 65. For most people, there is no premium for Part A as long as you (or your spouse).
You paid into the Medicare system all your working life. Now it is ………… “free”.
You may not need Medicare Part B if you are covered by an employer group health insurance plan. In many cases your group plan is the primary payer while Medicare is secondary.
But if you work for a small employer, less than 20 employees, Medicare may be primary and your group plan a (very expensive) secondary payer. In that case you should go ahead and enroll in Part B.
Don’t just assume you need part B. Make sure before enrolling or delaying enrollment in Medicare Part B.
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Medicare Open Enrollment
For those who want the assurance of original Medicare and the ability to continue to use your current doctor(s), you need to understand your Medicare open enrollment rights.
According to Medicare, the best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your 6-month Medigap open enrollment period. You can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems. This period automatically starts the month you’re 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy unless you can satisfy medical underwriting requirements.
Medigap insurance companies are generally allowed to use medical underwriting to decide if the want to accept your application. However, if you apply during your Medigap open enrollment period, you can buy any Medigap policy the company sells, even if you have health problems, for the same price as people with good health.
There is no annual open enrollment for Medicare supplement insurance. You can swap plans at any time, but you must answer health questions.
Your only chance to buy a Medigap plan may be when you enroll in Medicare Part B.
If you have group health coverage through an employer or union because either you or your spouse is currently working, you may want to delay enrolling in Part B. Employer plans often provide coverage similar to Medigap, so you don’t need a Medigap policy.
If you delayed Medicare Part B, when your employer coverage ends, you’ll have a chance to enroll in Part B without a late enrollment penalty. Your Medigap open enrollment period will start when you need it. If you enrolled in Part B while you still had the employer coverage, your Medigap open enrollment period would start (and possibly end) unless you bought a Medigap policy before you needed it.
COBRA and Medicare do not play well together. Medicare does not consider COBRA to be creditable coverage. When COBRA ends you are not entitled to an SEP (Special Enrollment Period). You will have to wait until the next GEP (General Enrollment Period) and pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty.
If you apply for Medigap coverage after your open enrollment period, there’s no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medigap policy if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements.
Don’t miss your chance to get the best Medigap rate or run the risk of being denied. Enroll in Medicare at age 65. Understand your Medicare Part B options.
Shop and compare GA Medigap rates.
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