FAQs About Medicare Supplements And Enrollment Periods

When can you enroll in a Medigap policy? Medigap health insurance (also known as Medicare supplements) provides coverage for the gaps that original Medicare (Parts A and B) don't pay for. If you're about to turn 65 or are over 65 and want to explore your options, take a look at what you need to know about supplements and the enrollment periods.

Do You Need Medigap?

While this type of insurance isn't a requirement, some people choose a Medigap policy to cut their healthcare expense costs. Original Medicare may pay for some of your medical bills. But Parts A and B won't cover 100 percent of every healthcare-related service. This means you may have to pay deductibles, coinsurance, or copayments yourself as out-of-pocket expenses. 

Does Medigap Pay for Everything Parts A and B Don't Cover?

According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, if you are new to Medicare (are just reaching age 65 now) Medigap policies won't pay for Part B deductibles. Medicare Part B is your medical insurance. This helps to pay for doctor's office visits and similar services. Supplements also usually won't pay for long-term non-skilled nursing care, glasses, private-duty nursing services, or hearing aids. They also won't offset the cost of vision or dental care.

Even though Medigap won't pay for these services, it is still a valuable policy. It can help you to pay for other healthcare-related expenses, such as Part A (hospital coverage) deductibles, doctor's visit copayments, or some other types of coinsurance costs. 

Can Anyone Enroll In Medigap?

You must have Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in a Medigap policy. People who are 65 or older, have ALD (Lou Gehrig's disease), have end-stage renal disease, or have some other types of disabilities could qualify for this coverage.

Can You Enroll In Medigap At Any Time?

You must enroll in original Medicare (Parts A and B) before you choose a supplement policy. Provided you already have Parts A and B, you may want to purchase a supplement plan during the initial six-month Medigap open enrollment period. If you are already 65 years old, this period begins the first month your Medicare Part B coverage starts. 

Unlike original Medicare, Medigap policies are medically underwritten. This means the insurance company could include health status (past and present) factors to calculate the cost you pay for a policy. But if you purchase Medigap during your open enrollment period, you may pay less or pay what someone who has little to no medical issues would pay. This makes it important to know when your open enrollment period (for Medigap) begins. Contact your insurance agent or an insurer that offers Medigap for more information on medicare supplement policies, prices, and enrollment.