How/When to Shop for Medicare Supplements

Do I buy when I'm still working, or wait? Get answers below.

You may have heard the term "Medigap." It's just another name for a Medicare supplement. Here are some things to consider as you seek the best Medicare supplement.
 
Supplement Plans
  • You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to buy a Medicare supplement. 
  • When you buy a Medicare supplement from BCBSND—or any insurance company—you pay a separate monthly premium for your supplement policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare. 
  • Be sure to do a Medicare supplement insurance comparison.
  • A Medicare supplement policy covers one person. If you and your spouse both want a Medicare supplement, you should buy one for each. 
  • Once you're actively enrolled in a Medicare supplement, you will be able to continue to renew the policy even if you develop health problems.
Drug Coverage
  • Prescription drug coverage is separate.
  • If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
Switching Plans
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to a Medicare supplement, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your supplement policy begins. 
  • Pre-existing conditions can become an issue if you switch plans. If you enroll in your supplemental insurance plan at the time you first become eligible for Medicare, pre-existing conditions aren't an issue. If you wait or you don't like your insurance provider and decide to switch later, you may run into health questionnaires and potential waiting periods.
  • Protection From Medicare Scams

The Best Time to Buy a Medicare Supplement?
The short answer—when you're first eligible. There are exceptions, however. Get the details below.
 
Limited-Time Enrollment Period (Open Now until June 30)
If you're currently a Medicare recipient, now is the perfect time to switch to or enroll in a BCBSND Medicare supplement – without complicated medical underwriting.
 
If you've thought about changing from another provider to BCBSND, or if you'd like to switch your current plan to one of the other Medicare supplement plans, you're in luck, but you should act now. This special enrollment period ends on June 30.
 
Open Enrollment
There's a window of time when you're first eligible for Medicare called open enrollment. During that period, even if you have health problems, you can get a Medicare supplement insurance policy for the same price as someone who's healthy.
 
Your Open Enrollment is a Seven-Month Period That Includes: 
  • Three months before the month you turn 65
  • The month you turn 65
  • Three months after the month you turn 65
Your Medicare Coverage Will Begin:
  • On the first day of the month you turn 65, and 
  • You are enrolled in Medicare Part B
After Open Enrollment
It's important to purchase a supplement when you're first eligible. If you wait, your health history will determine:
  • Whether you are eligible for a supplemental policy
  • The cost for the policy
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, there's no guarantee you'll be eligible for a policy.
 
Still Working at 65?
If you want to wait to enroll in Medicare, visit with your human resources department or a BCBSND representative. He or she will explain the implications of your decision and help you manage a delayed enrollment in order to avoid penalties.

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