No, the birthday rule I’m referring to isn’t the one that means your friends and family need to be extra nice to you on your special day, it’s the one that means the insurance companies can’t decline you for coverage in their Medicare Supplemental plan if you are coming from another existing Medicare Supplemental plan.
For starters, generally there are two times you are “guaranteed issue” for a Medicare Supplemental plan. First is the 6 month window following your enrollment into Medicare Part B or leaving an employer group health plan. Second, is during the 30 days following your birthday going from one Medicare Supplemental plan (also known as Medigap) to another. When utilizing the birthday rule, you must select an equal to or lesser plan than the one that you currently have.
Why bother? Well, money is really the main factor here. Medicare supplemental plans are standardized to be the same no matter the insurance carrier providing the insurance. So, Plan F is the same no matter where you buy, same with Plan N, etc.
Medicare supplemental premiums go up every year as a result of a few things; as you get older, as Medicare covers less each year and the Medicare supplemental insurance companies have to cover more and also as the cost of care increases. Some Medicare supplemental plans stop giving annual age premium increases at age 75, some continue up into the mid-eighties. So, if you’re 80’ish, you may have a good chance of saving a significant amount of money each month by shopping around near your birthday. Double that amount if you do the same for your spouse!
You can also choose not to wait for your birthday and apply with a new company at any time during the year and you aren’t restricted to selecting a “like” or “lesser” plan, you can “trade up”. In this situation you will be asked health questions on the application, and your approval is based on your current health status.
If you’re interested in comparing prices (remember, the benefits won’t change at all going from one like plan to another but with a different carrier) please contact me for a fast and easy quote!