When Does Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Occur?

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Aug 27, 2021

When Does Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Occur? When you become Medicare-eligible, you have two primary options for coverage:

  1. Original Medicare: includes hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B)
  2. Medicare Advantage: an all-inclusive plan that can package Part A, Part B and prescription drug coverage under one plan

Choosing Original Medicare opens up additional options: 

  • Add a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
  • Add supplemental coverage to lower some of the out-of-pocket expenses inherent in Original Medicare. Medicare Supplement insurance is also known as Medigap because it fills some of the gaps in Original Medicare coverage.

Initial Enrollment Period

Enrollment eligibility begins when you turn 65 years old and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. The Medigap Initial Enrollment Period is six months long and is when most people sign up for Original Medicare.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment is the optimal time to buy supplemental insurance because, within this window, insurance companies selling these policies are legally obligated to:

  • Sell you any Medicare Supplement plan available in your state
  • Charge you no more because of current health conditions or health history

When you turn 65 and have enrolled in Part B, you have six months to buy a Medigap policy without having to go through medical underwriting. 

Although the government does not mandate that private insurance companies offer these policies to beneficiaries under 65, some states have passed laws requiring it. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and State Insurance Department can inform you of your local rights. 

Find a new Medicare plan

Get recommendations based on what's important to you, and compare them to your existing plan.

Guaranteed Issue Rights

Certain situations warrant guaranteed issue rights. Beneficiaries with guaranteed issue rights cannot be declined the right to buy a Medicare Supplement plan even if the application is received outside the open enrollment period.

Examples of situations that may qualify you for this protection:

  • You are a Medicare Advantage (MA) member, and the plan no longer covers your service area or discontinues its contract with Medicare.
  • You are relocating from the area that your MA plan covers.
  • You have had Original Medicare in conjunction with an employer or union group plan, and now you are retiring and losing that coverage.

If you submit your application for Medicare Supplement insurance after open enrollment and do not have a guaranteed issue right, the insurance can use medical underwriting to determine if your application will be accepted. Because of health conditions, an insurer can charge you a higher rate or decline your application altogether.

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

877-406-1753 or TTY 771

Mon – Fri 5am – 6pm PT | Sat 5am – 5pm PT | Sunday   Closed

Send us a message

We aim to reply within 24 hours.

    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare Insurance Services Inc., its sales agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via medicarebenefits.com/about-us/contact-us. Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a plan

    Get plan recommendations

    Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.

    Find a new Medicare plan

    Click here to find out more

    Get a plan recommendation based on what's important to you.