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Medicare Supplements and the Birthday Rule

Feb 01, 2015 01:47PM ● By Colleen Callahan

by Colleen Callahan

February is an interesting month.  It is the shortest month; it has a holiday dedicated to a Saint who was beheaded for marrying young people (; and it has a long weekend called President’s Weekend. According to an article in the Washington Post last year, it is not clear which presidents are being celebrated: Washington, Lincoln, or Jefferson?

Since the topic of birthdays is relevant this month it seems appropriate to address the Medicare supplement “Birthday Rule” in California. Did you know that those who already have Medigap insurance have 30 days of “open enrollment” following their birthday each year? That means if you are not satisfied with your current Medicare Supplement for any reason, you may buy a new Medigap policy without a medical screening. In short, that means that your current health would not prevent you from qualifying for a different plan. The new policy must have the same or less benefits as the old policy. If you have had your Medicare Supplement for several years, it might be worth requesting a review. There might be a policy that is more suited to your needs or one that is more competitively priced.

You can find more information on this rule at the California Department of Insurance website.  There is a fact sheet available at Please note this rule is for those on traditional Medicare Supplement plans, not those with Medicare Advantage plans. 

 I find it best to be able to talk with clients about six weeks in advance of their birthdays to see if making a change will benefit them. Please feel free to give me a call if you have questions.  I would be happy to help you review your current policy.  If you are turning 65 this year, I have a few quick tips that you might find helpful too.

Colleen Callahan, CLU, CASL, LUTCF