Enrolling in a Medigap Plan
Applying for a Medigap plan is a very straight forward process. After you have narrowed down your options to one particular company and plan, you will need to submit an application for enrollment. Depending on your situation, you may have a different enrollment process.
Are You in Your Initial Enrollment Period?
If you are within 6 months of turning 65, you will be in your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). During this time, you can enroll in any Medicare supplement plan with any company. The company:
- Cannot refuse to sell you any Medigap Plan they offer
- Cannot charge you more than they charge someone with no health issues
- Cannot make you wait for coverage to start (ie - covering pre-existing conditions)
Your IEP can start with either the month you turn 65 or when you first start Medicare Part B. For many people these are one in the same. For those who retire after 65, your IEP starts when you lose group coverage and start your Medicare Part B coverage.
Are You Outside of Your Initial Enrollment Period?
Outside of your IEP means that you are 6 months beyond the date you enrolled in Medicare Part B (not sure, check your Medicare card). Being outside of that window, you will have to answer health questions (go through underwriting) with the new company. Underwriting can be a scary thought for some clients. Insurance companies are allow to charge higher rates or decline you when you apply outside of your IEP, based on your health at time of application.
Each company has it's own separate set of underwriting rules. Some companies have fewer questions (less strict) and may accept someone who was declined by another company. Other companies have much stricter underwriting guidelines and may ask for more information or inquire about a greater range of health conditions. This is where the use of a broker can help guide you. They can give you an idea of the underwriting questions each company will ask and help decide which company you have the best chance of getting accepted with.
There are some special times outside of your initial enrollment period where you can get coverage without answering health questions. Medicare calls these "Guaranteed Issue Rights." You can see those listed here - Medicare Guaranteed Issue Rights
Submitting Your Application
Almost all of the companies we represent have some form of electronic application. This makes completing an application easy for the client. Once the application is submitted, the company may contact you for some additional information regarding your application. The underwriting process can take