If you have already done the challenging work of researching Medigap policies and you have narrowed down the right company for you, you are finally ready to get started with your Medicare Supplemental Insurance. Remember that Medigap insurance is ultimately provided by private companies, even though it is carefully overseen by the federal government. This means that when you become eligible for Medigap, you will have to go through a private Medical Insurance application process that can be taxing. In some cases, it may be wise to seek the help of an outside expert, like your tax preparer, to help you.

If you choose to let your Medical Insurance agent fill out your Medicare Supplemental Insurance application, make sure that you review all the answers given in full. The information on your application will determine a variety of features of your insurance policy. This can impact whether you are eligible for open enrollment, change the prices that you might pay, and many other factors. However, bear in mind that insurance companies operating as Medigap dealers are generally not allowed to ask you about your family medical history or require you to take any genetic tests. If you receive these requests, you should move on!

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When you are ready to make your first payment to Medigap, there are a few things to remember. You should always pay for any Medical Insurance policy — including Medicare Supplemental Insurance — through check, money order, or bank draft. Cash can easily be stolen or misplaced, and it does not provide an adequate “paper trail” that might protect you. Your check should always be payable to the company itself, not directly to the agent, and you should always receive a receipt that shows you have paid in full. Once you have made your first payment, you have truly gotten started!

After you apply and are accepted for Medicare Supplemental Insurance, your coverage usually begins the first day of the following month. If you already have Medigap under a different provider, you can request that your new policy “kick in” as soon as the old one expires. It is not possible for you to hold two different Medigap policies at the same time. After you get started with your new policy, you should receive detailed, written documentation telling you everything there is to know about your new policy within thirty days. If you do not receive it, call your insurance agent.