California Medicare Supplement Plans & the Birthday Rule (2021)



Medicare Supplemental Coverage (0:30)
Califonia Birthday Rule (1:21)
How to Apply (2:30)

If you’re a California resident who is eligible for Medicare, don’t go anywhere! We’re telling you what you need to know about Medicare Supplements in California and explain in detail how the Birthday Rule works.

Once you become eligible for Medicare, you’ll have the option to enroll in supplemental coverage. This supplemental coverage comes in the form of either a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medigap plan with an additional Part D drug plan.

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Coverage Election Period. If you missed your Initial Coverage Election Period, you could enroll during the Annual Election Period that comes around each October. If you enroll in a Medigap plan instead, your first opportunity to do so is during your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.

If you miss your Open Enrollment Period, you can still enroll in a Medigap plan at any time of the year. However, you’ll have to go through medical underwriting and answer health questions.

Good news: if you’re a California resident and want to change Medigap plans, you’ll have an additional opportunity to do so without answering any health questions. The California Birthday Rule says that each year, 30 days before your birthday and 60 days after your birthday, you’ll have the option to change your Medigap plan without answering health questions.

You’re allowed to switch plan carriers, keeping the same plan with the same benefits, or switch to a plan with fewer benefits. For example, if you have Plan F, you can enroll in a different Plan F with another carrier. Alternatively, you can enroll in Plan G.

As another example, if you have Plan G, you can enroll in Plan G with a different carrier or enroll in Plan N. However, you won’t be able to enroll in Plan F since Plan F has more benefits than Plan G.

Your premiums can increase year over year, so California residents benefit from the Birthday Rule. It allows you to shop other rates in your area to see if you can find one that’s more affordable. If your health declines, you won’t have to worry about that impacting your rates.

You can apply for Original Medicare (Parts A and B) in California, online, via telephone, or at your local Social Security office.

If you’re ready to enroll in a Supplemental Medicare plan in California, give us a call! Once an agent collects some information from you, they’ll be able to compare all your Medigap options for your area.

Medigap in California:

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