Medicare Supplemental Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions
September 23, 2022
When you age into Medicare at 65, or when you first enroll in Medicare Part B, you are given 6 months to get a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan that includes what is called a “guaranteed issue.” You may be wondering what is a guaranteed issue Medicare Supplemental policy is. In short, you have a 6-month period to get one of these policies where the insurance company will not require you to respond to any questions about your medical history. Plus, they will accept you regardless of your pre-existing conditions. That means that you have only a short time to acquire one of these policies if you are suffering from diabetes, cancer, obesity or other disqualifying conditions. Following this brief time, insurers will likely ask you questions about your medicare history, and those with disqualifying conditions may find that they are unable to get a policy.
Others choose to sign up for Medicare Advantage plans. Before you hit your one-year anniversary in one of these plans you have the option of ending that coverage and returning to a Medicare plan. The six-month clock starts running again when you re-enroll in Medicare. If you have a pre-existing condition, you can sign up for a guaranteed issue Medicare Supplement without responding to a questionnaire about prior health history.
Different providers of Medicare Supplements have different rules around how long you can be enrolled in Medicare Advantage for before they will let you enroll in a guaranteed issue Supplement plan. For example, although most companies will only let you switch out of your Medicare Advantage plan within the first year, several companies give you a two year window to switch back from Medicare Advantage. As with all senior health plans, it helps to compare Medicare quotes before enrolling.
Although you may not be particularly happy if your insurer cancels your Medicare Advantage plan, one piece of good news that may come out of it is that you will be allowed to enroll in a Supplemental plan that, like those above, allows you to enroll in the plan for six months with a guaranteed issue provision, offering you coverage without a medical exam. Regardless of your age or health, you will be covered.
If you drop group coverage involuntarily or voluntarily, you can get a Medicare Supplement with no questions asked. Some retirement health plans or group Medicare Supplement plans get expensive and people decide on their own to drop this coverage. A person in this situation can apply for a Medicare Supplement and check of the box for “guaranteed issue”. There is some other information on the application that must be filled in correctly, so it can be helpful to have a knowledgeable insurance agent’s help. A letter from the group plan documenting the end of coverage under that plan should be submitted with the Med Supp application.
If you have been enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and you move out of the plan’s service area, you can get enroll in a new Advantage plan in your new county of residence – or you can apply for a Medicare Supplement and get guaranteed issue.