If you live in California, you’ll have access 10 standardized Medigap plans which are also available in 47 states. All but Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; these states have different types of Medigap plans. These plans are each labeled with a different letter, (A-G, K, L, M & N) and plans with the same letter offer the same benefits.
When you are enrolled in the Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) then you are eligible for Medigap insurance. Buying a Medicare Supplement plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the optimum time to enroll. This is different for each person based on your date of birth, this is a six-month period which starts the first day you are age 65 and or older, you must also be enrolled in the Medicare Part B.
Medicare beneficiaries in California can sign up for any Medicare Supplement plan available in your area during this time using any insurance company without being subjected to a medical underwriting and or denied coverage based on any pre-existing conditions. These are special Medigap protections known as “guaranteed-issued rights.” This means insurance companies have to issue you any plans in your service area during the OEP. While you can’t be denied insurance, rejected for coverage due to your medical status, an insurance company is allowed to make you wait up to six months until they cover any pre-existing conditions even if you have enrolled during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period.
Switching plans outside the one time Medigap Open Enrollment Period is generally harder except if you have guaranteed-issue rights and if you do find insurance companies willing to sell you a policy then you are more likely to pay more for the coverage if you have current health problems.
California is a state that has state specific guidelines to help make switching Medicare Supplement plans outside of your Medigap Open Enrollment period easier. California “birthday rule;” under this rule a beneficiary can switch each year to a different Medicare Supplement plan during a 30 day period, the 30 days that follow your birthday. It is during this time you can change Medigap plans with guaranteed issue provided the new plan is equal to or lesser coverage than the plan you are currently in. You can change your plan anytime during the year however you won’t be subject to any medical underwriting during the “birthday rule period.”
Disclosure: “We are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information contained on this website. Disclamer: This is not a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE or consult www.medicare.gov (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.”
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