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. 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 federal law, you have the right to buy a Medigap policy if you:
- Are 65 and enrolled in Medicare
- And, you buy your policy during a protected enrollment period
At times when you have the right to buy a Medigap policy, an insurance company cannot:
- Deny you Medigap coverage
- Or, charge you more for a policy because of past or present health problems
Before you buy a Medigap, check to see if your state offers additional protections. For instance, some states allow people to enroll in Medigaps outside federally protected periods. Residents of New York and Connecticut, for instance, can buy a policy throughout the year, not just at select times. These two states also require insurers to sell to people with Medicare who are under age 65. Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or Department of Insurance to learn more 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. However, know that companies can charge you a higher price because of your health status or other reasons.