Health care costs often increase after retirement, and if you don’t prepare for that, you might end up draining your nest egg, or worse – going without health care. When it comes to Medicare, it provides a whole lot of coverage, but it also leaves you with significant financial exposure. To keep your retirement secure, you may need a separate policy for things Medicare isn’t good at covering. These other plans are known as Medicare Supplement Insurance or simply Medigap plans.
Medicare Supplement insurance can handle many expenses for doctor services that Medicare doesn’t cover. For instance, Medicare only pays 80 percent of a pre-approved amount for doctor services that are not recommended preventive care. Medigap Insurance can automatically pick up the remaining 20 percent of those charges. That’s how these plans became known as Medigap Plans by filling in the gaps in Medicare.
Medigap Plans have an open enrollment period that lasts only six months when you first become eligible for Medicare. It’s possible to find a later open-enrollment period, but you can’t count on it. Many states offer a similar open enrollment period to beneficiaries before they turn 65.
These open enrollment periods for Medigap are quite helpful. Since you can be denied coverage due to health problems if you apply outside of open
enrollment, it can be a very expensive mistake to miss the time when insurance companies are required to issue you a Medigap plan.
Medicare Advantage plans are another option entirely, and they do accept almost all pre-existing health problems. Annual enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans starts October 15 and ends December 7. If you’re not satisfied with your coverage, you can switch back to original Medicare from January 1 until February 14 next year.
If you’d like to discuss your options in detail, our independent advisors can give you a confidential consultation free of charge. You can also join our live Medigap teleseminar by signing up here on our website.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit