Get to Know Medicare Enrollment Periods
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The primary opportunity you have to enroll in Medicare is called the “Medicare Initial Enrollment Period,” or IEP. This is a 7-month window of time. It begins 3 months before you turn 65, your birthday month, and then 3 months after. You can qualify for Medicare the year you turn 65, but there are various requirements you need to fulfill. For example, you either need to be qualified to receive Social Security benefits or you must already be receiving these benefits. If you or your spouse is covered for Medicare through government employment, then you are also eligible for Medicare.
If you miss the IEP, then you can use something called the “General Enrollment Period.” “General Enrollment Period,” or GEP, starts January 1st and lasts until March 31st. This is where you can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you enroll during that three-month period, your coverage will not begin until July 1st of the same year. Unfortunately, if you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, then there could potentially be a 10% late penalty on top of what you are paying for your premium.
Some people continue to work after the age of 65. This is where Medicare “Special Enrollment Period,” or SEP, plays a role. You are eligible for SEP if you hold insurance through your employer, your union, or your spouse’s employer. SEP is open for eight months. You are eligible to sign up for Medicare Part B the month after you stop working, or the month after insurance with an employer runs out. It depends on which one occurs first. If you are still working, then you may want to hold off to enroll in Medicare Part B. Your insurance through your employer will cover it first.
The “Annual Enrollment Period” is the typical period of time for Medicare enrollment. This happens beginning on October 15th and runs through December 7th. During the AEP, you have the opportunity to make important decisions about the Medicare plan you wish to take advantage of. You can add, switch, or drop Medigap Plan, Medicare Advantage, and Original Medicare. After choosing and/or adding to your plan, your plan coverage starts January 1st of the following year. If you need more information on this matter, then we have you covered.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP) lasts from January 1st through March 31st. However, this enrollment period is for those who are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part “C” of Medicare) during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). Consider taking advantage of this OEP if you are looking to make a one-time alteration to your Medicare Advantage plan.
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