Unfortunately, the annual open enrollment period (October 15 to December 7) only applies to Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans. When you first become eligible for Medicare, you are entitled to open enrollment for Medicare Supplement plans because you can add one of 10 different forms of Medigap Insurance to fill  in gaps in Medicare’s coverage.
During the open enrollment period for Medigap plans, insurance companies cannot decline your application because your health requires a lot of medical attention. In fact, they don’t even ask about your health at that time.  This initial open enrollment period gives you a great opportunity to get whatever Medigap plan you prefer at the standard premium price regardless of your pre-existing conditions.
Depending on the state where you live, you may be able to find other open enrollment periods for Medigap Insurance. Occassionally, an insurance company will offer a form of open enrollment, too. For 2011, Anthem is offering to accept applications for people who want to move from one Medigap plan to a different one that has equal or fewer benefits and they are not asking any questions about your health. That allows people with pre-existing conditions to get a new plan even though most insurance companies would reject their application.
If you have questions about when you’ll have the best chance to get the coverage you want, sign up for our free, live Question and Answer Teleseminar here on our website. You can listen to what people in your situation are asking and call our expert hosts to discuss your concern directly. We’ll also go over the basics to be sure you are aware of all your options so you can make the best decision for your situation.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage.