Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Medicare Supplement "Open Enrollment period"?
A. During this period, you do not have to answer any medical questions, have a physical or discuss medications with the Medicare Supplement insurance companies. Your individual Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period is the period of time in which you can purchase a Medicare Supplement from any insurance company, without having to qualify medically, pay a higher rate due to any current or former health conditions, or wait for coverage. Open Enrollment is federally-mandated, so every company has to abide by it.
This initial enrollment period begins for each individual on the first day of the month in which he is both age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. It lasts for a period of six months from that date. For example, if your birthday is April 3 and you enroll in Medicare Part B to start on April 1 of that same year, your Open Enrollment period would begin on April 1 and last through the month of September.
One thing that causes confusion in understanding when the Open Enrollment period falls is the fact that many Medicare Supplement companies also extend a six-month period prior to the start of one's Open Enrollment. During this period, companies allow you to sign up for coverage that is not effective until the actual Part B effective date (often the same as the first day of the month in which you turn 65). So in that case, an individual would have a 12-month period in which he/she could sign up with no medical underwriting. If you have employer group health insurance, it is sometimes wise to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B until you lose or terminate that group coverage. What this does is guarantees you the ability to have an Open Enrollment period at the later time that you do sign up for Medicare Part B.
Open Enrollment and Guaranteed Issue Worksheet (link opens in new window)