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How and When to Enroll in Medicare Supplements

We've covered how to compare the plans and even Advantage plans versus Supplements. 

Let's now get into the logistics as Medicare is a whole new world to most people.

The how's and when's!

Our primary role during enrollment is to guide people through the process and make it as easy as possible.

As licensed California Medicare supplement agents, there's zero cost for our assistance.

And hand-holding.

Let's get started!

These are the areas we'll cover:

Let's get started.  Pencils ready (old-school).

When can a person enroll

Technically, a person with part A and Part B set up through Medicare can enroll any time!

That being said, there are specific triggers that allow a person to enroll regardless of health and the vast majority of people apply during these windows.

The most common are:

Check with us if you have a special situation but the above make up 99% of the guaranteed issue triggers.

This means you don't have to complete a health questionnaire and can't be declined base on health.

This window is generally 6 months from when you become eligible (turning 65, losing group coverage, etc).

Outside of this window, we need to complete the health history statement and we can be declined but people generally get approved as the bar is set pretty low.

We can help you if you're in this situation.

Some people do not enroll in Part B when eligible and may have to way a period of time before it's active.

We can't enroll in a supplement unless both Part A and B are active with Medicare.

Learn more about the pieces of Medicare here.

So, practically speaking...when do you we enroll?

When to apply for Medicare supplement

Let's say our 65th birthday is April 15th.

That means we're eligible for Medicare April 1st (1st of the month we turn 65 in).

In that situation, it's generally best to follow this timeline:

That's it!

Now, if you're running late, don't fret.

We can actually submit the medicare supplement application right up till the end of the month prior to the 1st that we want it to start.

The effective date will always be on the 1st of the month.

Again, we're happy to help you with this process and make sure it all goes as planned.

We've enrolled 1000's of California medicare supplement enrollees over decades now! do we actually apply?

How to enroll in a Medicare supplement

First, we make sure our Part A and B is active with Medicare.

This can usually be done at or through your Social Security office.

Once both parts are active and you have your Medicare ID#, we can enroll in the Medicare supplement policy.

Each carrier has a simple form which we can send to you.

If you have any questions about the application, we're happy to walk through it with you.

This can reduce the time from 45 minutes down to 10!

Complete the sections that are easy and then let's schedule a time to walk through the rest.

You can fax it or we can send you a secured email for the completed form.

We'll scrub it on this side and address any missing items (which are typical) before submitting for enrollment.

The trickier part deals with eligibility but again, we're here to help!

Again, we want to submit before the 1st of the month that you're enrolling for.

Payment is generally not required with submission depending on the carrier.

You'll receive an invoice for the 1st month after approval.

So...what should you have ready?

What to have ready for enrollment

It's actually not too bad.

The big one is that you need your Part A and Part B active with Medicare (see above).

They will generate a Medicare ID# with effective dates and this generally takes a few weeks which is why we like to do this process about 2 months prior to your desired effective date.

Once we have we have this in place with Medicare, we just need to submit the Medicare supplement application.

As we mentioned above, we can help with this whole process and there's zero cost for our assistance as licensed California medicare supplement agents.

Just check out our Google reviews here!

A quick outline on timing is next.

How long does the process take

Medicare generally takes up to a few weeks to generate the Part A and Part B effective dates and Medicare ID#.

From there, we submit the medicare advantage plan.

This generally takes about 7-10 days to process and see active in membership.

You'll receive a welcome kit shortly after!

Keep in mind that even if we submit late, we'll still get the 1st of the month if you're eligible.

An invoice will arrive from the carrier for the 1st month or you can register your online account and set up billing that way.

We're happy to help with any changes for billing and membership going forward.

What about Part D...the medication piece?

When and how to enroll in Part D

We have an entire review of Part D coverage for medication.

Keep in mind that the supplement plan does NOT cover RX.

That is covered by a separate plan called Part D and we can run the quotes for you with just medication and dosage info.

This way, the quote will look at the best value for a total cost (premium and out-of-pocket expenses).

Part D timetables are pretty similar to Medicare supplements.

We just need to enroll prior to the 1st of the month we want it active.

Each carrier has online application links or enrollment by phone which we can send over to you based on your plan selection from the quote we create.

This is a free service as well.

One big difference with Part D plans is that we enroll or change plans at the end of each year during open enrollment regardless of health.

Another big difference is that...if we choose to delay enrollment after we're eligible, there can be a 1% penalty per month.

For example, if we wait 12 months to enroll in Part D, the rates will be 12% higher.

Medicare supplements do not have this penalty but we can be subject to health questionnaires and even being declined once we're outside our open enrollment triggers mentioned above (turning 65, losing group overage, etc).

We now have the lay of the land!  Please let us know if we can help in any way.

Make sure to check out our review on how to compare and pick the best medicare supplement plan!