If you wish to purchase a Medigap policy, you need to find out the best time to buy one in your state. In most states, insurance companies must only sell you a policy at certain times and if you meet certain requirements. At times when you have the right to buy a Medigap policy, an insurance company cannot:
- Deny you Medigap coverage
- Charge you more for a policy because of past or present health problems.
If you miss your window of opportunity to buy a Medigap, your costs may go up, your options may be limited or you may not be able to buy a Medigap at all.
Under national law, you only have the right to buy a Medigap policy if you:
- Are 65 and enrolled in Medicare
- Buy your policy during a protected enrollment period.
Check the rules in your state before you buy a Medigap. Many states follow the national rules for giving you the right to buy a Medigap. However, some states allow people to enroll in Medigaps outside of the nationally protected periods. For example, states like New York and Connecticut allow you to buy a policy throughout the year, rather than at select times. Likewise, these two states and many others require insurers to sell to people with Medicare under age 65, not just to people age 65 or older. Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and ask about your right to purchase a Medigap policy in your state.
Even if you do not have the right to buy a Medigap in your state, you may still be able to buy a policy if a company agrees to sell you one. Keep in mind that companies can charge you a higher price because of your health status or other reasons.