If you´re looking to get additional health care insurance for the very first time, you might not be an expert. Which is fine, as most people aren´t. There are a lot of rules and advices when it comes to Medicare supplement plans. One of these advice has to do with the so-called open enrollment period. But, what is this period? And what does it have to do with the Medicare supplement plans?
The open enrollment period is a time period of 6 months, which begins from the day when you turn 65. Starting your 65th birthday, you can enroll to any supplement plan you want. During these 6 months, the health insurance companies are not allowed to deny you enrollment to the supplement plan you want to enroll to. Another important factor is that during this period of time the health insurance company can´t set the price based on your health condition. They are not allowed to look at your medical history and see what conditions you´ve previously had and how often you´ve visited health care providers in the past. This is very important, especially for people who do suffer from a condition and require health care professionals more frequently. If the health insurance companies would look at the medical history, the premium rates would be a lot higher.
If you´ve missed the open enrollment period or require health insurance at a period of time that isn´t during these 6 months, you might be eligible for the special enrollment period.
Special Enrollment Period: What it is
There are certain situations that make you eligible for enrollment to any Medicare supplement plan you want, without having to undergo medical underwriting. This means, that you would get the very same rights, as you would during your open enrollment period. Some of these situations, are:
- When the health care coverage you are currently enrolled to is no longer provided (for example, if the company doesn´t offer it anymore, if the company can no longer cover the costs due to bankruptcy, or if you move somewhere where your current health insurance company is not present)
- If you have big life changes, such as getting married or having a baby
Some Medicare supplement plans, which are job-based, might have different enrollment periods. You need to ask beforehand to find out when the period to enroll is.
Medicaid and the Children´s Health Insurance program are plans you can enroll to at any time throughout the year.
After knowing what this valuable time period is, you can plan ahead and start thinking about whether it is a good decision to enroll or not. The general rule says, that if you´re planning to enroll, you should best do it during this period of time. This will end up saving you a lot of money, as premium rates at another time can be twice as high, especially if you´re suffering from a chronic condition.