5 Important Enrollment Periods You Should Know
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The timeframe for enrolling in a Medicare plan is called an enrollment period. There are a handful of different enrollment period options that exist for Medicare recipients. However, each enrollment period throughout the year is very specific as to when it can and cannot be used.
If you miss the right time to enroll, your coverage may be delayed, or you could face penalties later. And that may end up costing you more. So, let’s take a look at these Medicare annual enrollment periods in more detail below to clarify what needs to be done — and when. If you would like to speak with an agent about these Medicare enrollment periods or to learn more about your options, please feel free to reach out for more personal assistance.
For those turning 65 and new to the Medicare Program, you have a seven-month window to join a plan – 3 months before your birthday month, your birthday month, and then the 3 months after your birthday month.
As an example, let’s say you turn 65 in May. Your Initial Enrollment Period would begin in February, because that is 3 months before your birthday month of May, and then it would end at the end of August, which is 3 months after your birthday month.
During this time, you can:
TIP: If you’re already receiving Social Security when you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B. You can also speak with one of our agents or contact the Social Security Office to learn more: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/
Medicare Supplement Plans, sometimes referred to as a Medigap Policy, can supplement your Medicare Part A and Part B to help with additional costs.
The best time to buy one of these policies is during your 6-month Open Enrollment Period, which starts the first day of the month that you turn 65 – provided you have signed up for Medicare Part B. During this period, companies are prohibited from requiring you to answer medical underwriting questions and must accept you.
Outside of this period, insurance companies generally will require you to answer medical underwriting questions, which may affect whether you can enroll into a Medicare Supplement Policy, unless you have a specific guaranteed issue right.
TIP: More information on Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue Rights Here: https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap/guaranteed-issue-rights
Any Medicare Beneficiary can make changes to their coverage and enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan each year, from October 15th to December 7th and are eligible to make the following changes, based on your current situation.
TIP: If you are happy with your current coverage, you’re not required to make a change. In most cases, your current Medicare plan will automatically renew on January 1st. But, if you want to make sure that you are maximizing your benefits, please contact one of our agents for a free comparison.
This period runs from January 1 to March 31st every year. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can make a one-time election to go to either another Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drug coverage or they can go back to having Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B as their primary insurance coverage.
Depending on the scenario, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Whichever you end up enrolling into during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, your new coverage will start on the first day of the month following the month that you completed and submitted your enrollment application.
TIP: It is important to note the dates and take action within this timeframe or there may be difficulty securing the the right plan with the Medicare benefits you need. Please contact one of our agents for help during Open Enrollment or even afterwards to see if you have any additional options.
A Special Enrollment Period could be anytime throughout the year. If eligible, you can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug plan outside the basic enrollment periods. To qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you must meet certain conditions as outlined below.
Here are just a few of the many scenarios that open a Special Enrollment Period:
TIP: Special enrollment periods are not guaranteed and if eligible, there are some additional considerations to make. Please give us a call or submit an inquiry through our website form if you’d like help determining if you qualify for any of the enrollment periods above. These key enrollment periods that you should know do not include all available scenarios and enrollment periods. So, please contact us for more information.
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