Texans who qualify for Medicare before age 65 because of a disability may purchase a Medicare supplement policy during the six-month open enrollment period that begins when the individual first enrolls in Part B, under 28 Texas Administrative Code §3.3324. Medicare supplement carriers are required to offer Plan A to these consumers on a guaranteed-issue basis. Carriers are permitted to charge higher rates to this group.
Policyholders with disabilities become eligible for an open enrollment opportunity when they reach age 65, according to Bulletin Transmittal No. 02-03 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2002). Applicants during this open enrollment period have access to all Medicare supplement plans available in the market and are charged the same rates for supplement plans as any other enrollee who enrolls during the age-65 open enrollment period.
When policyholders with disabilities who are enrolled in Plan A turn 65, TDI encourages Medicare supplement carriers to notify policyholders that they have a new open enrollment period, during which they can enroll in any Medicare supplement plan offered by any carrier.
TDI is aware that most carriers in the market proactively recategorize disabled policyholders when they turn 65 to provide the more advantageous rate offered during the age-65 open enrollment period, while ensuring the policyholders’ coverage remains the same. TDI supports this practice and encourages all Medicare supplement carriers to adopt this approach.