Understanding when you should enroll in Medicare is one of the most important processes you need to be aware of so you can ensure you get the coverage you need at the right time. At Signature Medicare Solutions, we’ll make sure you’re aware of all the enrollment periods available to you and how you’ll be able to enroll on time!
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
STARTS: 3 months before your 65th birthday month.
ENDS: 3 months after your 65th birthday month.
This is a seven-month period that lets you enroll in Medicare for the first time. We recommend enrolling in this period as soon as possible so you can get your coverage as soon as possible and avoid late enrollment penalties.
General Enrollment Period (GEP)
STARTS: January 1st.
ENDS: March 31st.
If you did not enroll during your IEP, you will be able to enroll during the GEP. However, enrolling in this period means your coverage won’t start until July 1st, and you may have to pay late enrollment penalties.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
You an enroll in Medicare during a SEP without having to pay a penalty if you delayed your initial enrollment due to already having creditable through your employer.
There will typically be an eight-month SEP that will begin either one month before your employment ends or your coverage ends.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
STARTS: October 15th.
ENDS: December 7th.
This period is only available to those who are already enrolled in Medicare. AEP allows you to review your current coverage and take note of any changes that might come to your plan for the following year. After reviewing your plan, vou can use this period to join, switch, or drop plans and insurers.
Other Medicare Enrollment Periods
Other Medicare enrollment periods you should be aware of include:
Medigap Open Enrollment Period
This is a six-month period that starts as soon as you have Medicare Part B and are 65. This period will allow you to buy any Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, regardless of your health. If you choose not to take advantage of this enrollment period, you may be charged more in premiums or you may not be able to buy a Medigap plan.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
This period begins on January 1 and ends March 31. This period will allow you to switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, with or without prescription drug coverage. It will also allow you to go back to Original Medicare and join a Part D plan.
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