I have decided to retire when I turn 65 in September and will need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B with a Medicare Supplement and Part D prescription drug plan.
My husband, Tom is 67and he enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when he turned 65because he has a heart condition. Tom remained on my company benefits when he had heart surgery.
Now, he is taking Eliquis for blood clots and he needs to apply for a Medicare Supplement because his cardiologist’s office manager expressed concern over my husband’s insurance changes since their office is accepting very few Medicare Advantage plans and suggested that he enrolls in a Medicare Supplement.
Please explain what I need to do to get Medicare Supplement coverage for both me and my husband? We need your help.
Pat a Katy Rancher reader
America does not realize that Medicare Part B is as valuable as GOLD and should be treated with kid gloves. When you enroll in Part B the wrong way, it can cause you to not qualify for the Medicare Supplement you desire.
Medicare provides special rules for employees or spouses who are “still working” with “true” company benefits and are covered by the employer group health insurance.
Pat, you are in your Medigap Open Enrollment Period and in the 2018 Medicare & You handbook it states, “The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This 6-month period begins on the first day of the month in which you’re 65 or older and enrolled in Part B. (Some states have additional Open Enrollment Periods.) After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you’re able to buy one, it may cost more.”
Your husband, Tom, is not under the same Medicare rules as you are because he enrolled in Medicare Part B when he turned 65 over 2 years ago, now he must answer underwriting questions to qualify for a Medicare Supplement.
Therefore, enrolling in Part B, the correct way, when “still working” full-time with true company benefits is so important. Not only to keep from receiving a Medicare Part B penalty, but also to be able to enroll and be accepted in any Medicare Supplement/Medigap plan due to medical underwriting.
Tom’s saving grace if he cannot pass underwriting, is that you, Pat are leaving your company’s benefits and Tom can receive a 63-day guaranteed issue period to apply for a Medicare Supplement/Medigap plan. Keep your company benefit termination letter to show the Medicare Supplement insurance company that you are in a guarantee issue period.
Below is information about guaranteed issue rights an insurance company must:
- Sell you a Medigap/Medicare Supplement policy. “You have the right to buy Medigap/Medicare Supplement plan A, B, C, F, K or L that’s sold in your state by any insurance company.
- Cover all your pre-existing health conditions.
- Cannot charge you more for a Medigap/Medicare Supplement policy, regardless of past or present health problems.
No one realizes the value to first receiving Part B until they are in your situation and now they want to apply for a Medicare Supplement and can only get certain plans because they are no longer in their Medicare Open Enrollment period.