If you’re familiar with any type of insurance, you may have heard of what’s called a “waiting period.” How long a waiting period lasts can depend on enrollment, the type of plan, and the insurer, but overall, the definition of a waiting period stays the same:

A waiting period is the amount of time it takes for you (the insured) to receive some or all of your benefits or coverage from a plan.

There are many insurance plans that have a waiting period, but is Medicare one of them?

Let’s find out!

Medicare Enrollment

For many, enrolling in Medicare is automatic! In fact, anyone getting retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will be automatically enrolled. Typically, anyone who is not automatically enrolled will have to enroll during their Initial Enrollment Period, which always begins three months before their 65th birthday month and ends three months after.

But, what about those getting Social Security Disability Insurance or disability benefits from the RRB? Well, this is actually where Medicare’s waiting period comes into play. You’ll still technically be automatically enrolled, but it won’t be until you have received these benefits for a total of 24 months (two years). In fact, your Medicare coverage will finally start the first day of the 25th month of receiving your benefits.


Some people may even experience a waiting period when enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan, also known as Medigap. Once you’re 65 and enrolled in Original Medicare, you will have a guaranteed issue right for six months to enroll in a Medigap plan. This six month period is known as the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, and you can enroll in any Medigap plan without being denied coverage because of your health

However, enrolling past this period means that you won’t have a guaranteed issue right and insurers can choose to make you go through a medical underwriting process to review your current health and medical history to determine your eligibility.

This medical underwriting process could mean you won’t get coverage right away, and thus, open up a waiting period known as the pre-existing condition waiting period. To avoid this period and the medical underwriting, make sure to enroll in a Medigap plan during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period!

Get The Coverage You Need!

At Game Changing Benefits, we’re here to help you get the coverage you need. We’re also here to walk you through the enrollment process so you can enroll in Medicare confidently. 

To learn more about Medicare and what to expect when enrolling, give our Medicare experts a call today!