En español | If you’re age 65 or older, federal law allows you to buy a Medigap policy with full protections if you do so within certain specified time frames — notably the six-month period after you begin receiving Medicare Part B benefits. These protections, known as “guaranteed issue,” mean that insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you a Medigap policy or charge you higher premiums based on your current health status or preexisting medical conditions. Outside of the specified time frames, however, they can do both. (For a full list of the periods when you can get guaranteed issue under federal law, see the Q&A headed “When is the best time to buy Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap)?”
If you are under 65 and have Medicare due to disability, federal law provides no protections when buying Medigap. But some states provide similar protections. To check out the law in your own state, contact the state department of insurance; for contact information go to http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm and select your state.
If you are unable to buy a Medigap policy right now, or only one that charges you very high premiums, remember that when you turn 65, the clock will be reset. You will then be eligible for Medicare based on age instead of disability, and you will be able to choose any Medigap policy of your choice with full federal protections — provided that you buy one within six months of your 65th birthday, unless you happen to live in one of the few states that allows you to buy Medigap at any time.