The Medicare Supplement Open enrollment period is the one time in your life you can enroll in any Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan without medically qualifying. Since most people only get this one time, best use it wisely and enroll in your Medigap plan.

You can sign up for a Medigap plan any time of the year, but you’ll have to answer health questions. Depending on your health, you may not get coverage. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is NOT the same as the Annual Enrollment Period.

What is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period?

Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment period is a once-in-a-lifetime period that you get when you start Medicare. For most people, it’s when you turn 65. Sometimes it begins once you retire and start your Medicare Part B.

During your one-time Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you can:

  • Enroll in any Medigap plan with any carrier without health qualifications
  • Change as many times as you want as long as you’re still in your open enrollment window
  • Enroll up to six months in advance to lock in the rate for most carriers and states

Your One-Time Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

Your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period begins the first day of the month your Part B goes into effect.

If you delay your Part B, your enrollment window for Medigap will start the same day as your Medicare Part B. You’re one-time open enrollment window will last six months.

Most people will only have one OEP in their lifetime. There are a few situations you can receive a second OEP for Medigap plans.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

Second Medigap Open Enrollment Period for Those on Disability

Upon being on disability for 24 months, you’ll become eligible for Medicare on your 25th month of being on disability.

Typically, the beneficiary will be under 65. In this situation, you’ll have two Medigap Open Enrolment Periods.

The first will start the same month your Medicare starts and will continue for six months. The second is as you approach your 65th birthday. It will start on the 1st day of your birth month and continue for six months.

Second Medigap Open Enrollment Period if You Cancel Your Part B

The only other time you can have more than one Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is if you cancel your part B. Once you re-enroll into Part B, you’ll get a second open enrollment window.

The second OEP will start at the same time as your new Part B start date and continue for six months.

How soon can I enroll?

It varies from state to state and depends on the insurance carrier. In most cases, you can enroll in a Medigap plan up to six months before your 65th birthday.

How do I prepare for my Medigap Open Enrollment Period?

When you start the Medicare journey as a future Medicare beneficiary, many try and research everything themselves.

Unfortunately, like so many other subjects, there’s a lot of misinformation available. There are also many examples of overcomplicated explanations intending to confuse you.

The best thing you can do early is to speak with a licensed insurance broker. Find someone that represents most of the carriers in your area.

Do not use an agent that only offers one or two carriers. They work for the insurance company, not you. The plan they offer may be good for you, but there could be something that fits your needs better.

Start your enrollment process in Medicare as soon as you can. The sooner you have this taken care of, the easier the process will be.

Some carriers require your Medicare card to enroll in a Medigap plan. Other carriers do not require the Medicare card at the time of application. They will request a copy of it before the Medicare Supplement plan starts.

Lock in your rate early. Medigap plans usually have an annual rate increase. Some carriers like Mutual of Omaha will lock in your rate for 12 months based on the price at the time of application. Sometimes, this results in lower rates for the first 12 months of your policy.

To Recap:

  • Apply for Medicare A and B during your Initial Enrollment Period
  • Speak with a licensed agent that represents several carriers
  • Do not over research
  • Enroll early to lock in your rate
  • Don’t procrastinate – it can result in higher rates

What happens if I miss my Medigap Open Enrollment?

The good news. You can still enroll in a Medigap plan at any time. Now the bad news. You’ll have to answer health questions and may not be approved if you’re outside your OEP.

If you miss your open enrollment window, fear not. Other options are available to help protect you from the out-of-pocket costs leftover by Medicare. These will come in the form of Medicare Advantage plans.

How to Get Help During My Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

Give us a call! If now is not a good time, fill out our online request form. We’ll have one of our licensed brokers reach out to assist. We understand this can be an overwhelming time and are here to help.

Picture of the author
by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.