When Can I Buy Medicare Supplement Insurance?

Posted in Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement insurance is a smart way to help shoulder some of the costs associated with your health care, and even give you a few extra benefits. When is the right time to buy? Here’s some information to get you started. 

When You’re First Eligible – During Colorado Open Enrollment Period

The best time to buy Medicare Supplement insurance is when you’re first eligible, during your open enrollment period. This six-month period of time begins around the time you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. Remember, enrollment in Part A and Part B is automatic when you turn 65 – your Medicare Supplement insurance open enrollment begins at the same time.

Why is this the best time to buy in Colorado? During your open enrollment, insurance companies have to sell you a policy at a good price—even if you have health problems. But, if you wait more than six months and miss your open enrollment period, you could have trouble buying a policy, and it could cost you more.

When You Have a Colorado Guaranteed Issue Right

There are certain times when you might have what is called a guaranteed issue right to buy. This means you have the right to buy a policy at a good price without medical underwriting denying you coverage. Here’s an example. If you have Colorado group insurance through work and decide to wait before signing up for Part B, your open enrollment period will be delayed too until you join. However, instead of having six months, you only have 63 days to buy with the same guaranteed issue right.

Here are some of the situations when you might have a guaranteed issue right to buy.

  1. Group health insurance through an employer is ending.
  2. In the first year of joining Medicare Advantage, you want to return to Original Medicare.
  3. You left Medicare Supplement to join Medicare Advantage, but within the first year, you want to switch back.
  4. Your Medicare Supplement policy or Medicare Advantage plan ends through no fault of your own.
  5. You have Medicare Advantage, but you move out of your plan’s service area.

During Colorado Medicare Open Enrollment

If you miss your open enrollment in Colorado and you don’t have a guaranteed issue right, you may be able to purchase a policy during Annual Open Enrollment. However, insurance companies can look at your health when setting your price, or deciding if they want to sell you a policy.

If you plan to buy during Open Enrollment, be sure to comparison shop. Insurance companies don’t charge the same for the same plans. Compare policies side by side, and look carefully at benefits and prices. With some luck, you might be able to find the same plan for less money through another provider.

What About Switching Policies in Colorado?

If you have Medicare Supplement insurance now, but think you’re paying for benefits you don’t need, or need benefits you don’t have, you may want to consider switching policies. To switch between plans in Colorado, you must have a guaranteed issue right, or be within your open enrollment period.

The good news is, if you switch to a new plan, you have 30 days to decide if you want to keep it. Your “free look period” starts when you get your new policy. Important note: during your 30-day trial, you are required to pay both premiums for one month. And, you are responsible for canceling your old policy.

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