Medicare Supplemental Insurance Underwriting Times

If you’re shopping for a Medicare supplement in the months of October, November and December, you should not be surprised to find Medicare Supplement Underwriting and processing times lasting for 6-9 weeks. If you count the additional 2-3 weeks that you will need to get your ID cards after you’ve been approved, there may be a 3-month process from the time you submit your application for review.

So, what is the reason for this tripling effect on the time it takes to complete the underwriting process? The short answer is that many people apply for coverage during this period because of various circumstances.

Here is a list of the main reasons for the delays.

Some of the key situations that cause so many people to apply for insurance during this period include:

1) People losing employer-sponsored health insurance – Many Medicare beneficiaries choose to retire at the end of the year and apply for Medicare Supplementary Insurance, which starts on January 1 of the following year, as their employer-sponsored health insurance expires by 31st December. Unfortunately, a newer and more common person who fits into this category is the Medicare beneficiary, who loses the retiree health insurance that his former employer promised for the rest of his life (recent laws allowed companies to discontinue this cover). This group of people represents over one million Medicare beneficiaries and they can apply from 1st October.

2) People Lose Their Medicare Advantage Plans – A new trend has many Medicare Advantage companies expressing their desire to stop the policy in different regions or states. Part of the Obama National Health Plan proposal was to pay for the program by taking money from Medicare. His main concern was to reduce the subsidies (sums of money) paid to the private insurance companies that run these Medicare Advantage plans and to use this money to finance national health care.

As a result, many of the Medicare Advantage companies realize that they cannot be profitable and therefore choose to discontinue their plans.

3) People Want to opt Out Of Their Medicare Advantage Plans – This group of people have used a Medicare Advantage plan and have not lost their coverage, but are generally dissatisfied with the coverage provided and returned to regular Medicare and are applying for a Medigap plan.

Individuals in this category typically represent several hundreds of thousands of dissatisfied participants in the Medicare Advantage Plan, and they can apply for coverage from November 15.

4) General confusion over the times of the year that allows you to switch your Medicare supplement – With the various enrollment periods introduced with the introduction of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans, there has been a tremendous amount of confusion about whether a Medicare Supplement plan owner can modify their Medicare supplement plan. The reality is that an owner of a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan can change his plan at any time during the year. This type of plan is not subject to the different registration deadlines. However, a Medicare insurance premium holder usually needs to qualify medically for the new plan to switch to another plan.

So, if you add everything, you might have millions of Medicare beneficiaries who can only apply for coverage in the fourth quarter of the year, or think they can only get cover.