Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Guaranteed Issue Rights


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We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1 (877) 486-2048) 24 hours a day/7 days a week to get information on all of your options.

Generally, the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance policy is during your open enrollment period. But Medigap guaranteed issue rights award you a few more protections outside this window—like if you miss your enrollment period or lose other types of health coverage.

Important: This information only pertains to protections that apply nationwide. Some states have additional protections for enrolling in Medigap. For example, Medigap policies in New York and Connecticut are guaranteed issue year-round, while California and Oregon follow the “birthday rule.” Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or State Department of Insurance or Medicare supplement insurance company can clarify state-specific Medigap rights for you. 

Your Medigap Guaranteed Issue Right

Under federal law, you have a six-month enrollment period to enroll in Medigap policies. This period begins the day your Medicare Part B becomes active. During that six-month enrollment period, and thanks to the guaranteed acceptance active during this period, you can choose a Medicare supplement plan offered in your state, regardless of your health condition—you cannot be denied coverage, and they must offer it at the best available rate. 

With guaranteed issue rights can be triggered when lose your health insurance through no fault of your own, you have the right to buy Medicare Supplement plans outside your six-month initial  enrollment period without: 

  • Answering health questions
  • Considering pre-existing condition exclusions or waiting periods (medical underwriting)
  • Incurring rate increases due to your health status

Note: Guaranteed issue rights are often limited to the following Medicare Supplement Insurance plans: A, B, C**, D, F**, G, K, or L.

When Do Guaranteed Issue Rights Apply?

A “guarantee issue” is usually the result of losing insurance coverage because of a special event. You may have a guaranteed issue right if:

  • You lost coverage because the plan left Medicare or stopped providing coverage in your area
  • Your employer, union, COBRA, or retiree coverage plan ends
  • You move (and notify the plan of your relocation)
  • You joined a Medicare Advantage Plan when you first became eligible for Medicare and disenrolled within 12 months
  • Your Medicare Advantage plan loses its Medicare contract
  • You have original Medicare and a Medicare SELECT policy, and you move out of the SELECT’s service area
  • You left your Medicare Advantage plan or cancelled your Medigap policy because the company misled you or committed fraud

Guaranteed Issue Trial Rights

If you signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan and didn’t like it, you can switch to a Medicare Supplement plan outside of your enrollment period by using your “trial right” in the following scenarios:

  • If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan when you first turn 65 and started Part A, you can switch to a Supplement plan within the first 12 months
  • If you left your Medicare Supplement plan for an Advantage plan, you can switch back to the same Supplement plan with the first 12 months of using the Advantage plan

You can only use your trial rights once, so we recommend speaking with your Medicare or insurance advisor before taking any action.  

Learn more: Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Bottom Line

Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue Rights are protections that give you the right to enroll in a select group of  Medicare Supplement plans offered in your state, regardless of your health status. If you qualify for one of the rights mentioned, the insurance company must cover all your pre-existing conditions (). It also cannot require medical underwriting for your coverage, deny you coverage, or charge you more due to health reasons.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, you should discuss your specific needs with a licensed Medicare insurance agent.

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