One of the most important and common questions among Americans nearing age 65 or those that want to change their Medicare coverage is, “When can I enroll in Original Medicare or change my current Medicare coverage?” These periods are important because missing your chance to sign up or enroll at the wrong time can have both instant and lasting consequences.
But exactly when a Medicare beneficiary should sign up or change coverage can be intimidating with all the different enrollment periods and circumstances. Let’s cut through this confusion and go through some of the most common Medicare enrollment periods and situations you need to know.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
This is the period when Medicare beneficiaries are first eligible to sign up for Medicare. The IEP runs for 7 months and starts 3 months before the Medicare beneficiary’s 65th birthday, and ends 3 months after they turn 65. You can also enroll in the 25th month of receiving SSD benefits. To avoid the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty and get the most from your Medicare, ensure to apply for Medicare during this period.
General Enrollment Period (GEP)
The GEP happens every year from January 1 to March 31. If you enroll during this period, your Medicare coverage will become effective on July 1, so you may see a gap in your coverage. However, keep in mind that if you sign up for Original Medicare during the GEP because you missed your IEP, you may still be subject to late Medicare enrollment penalties.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
SEP is usually a two-month window when Medicare beneficiaries can change their coverage due to special situations. For instance, you will qualify for a SEP if you move outside your plan’s service area. You can also use this enrollment period to switch to MA or Medicare Part D. In addition, beneficiaries can also return to Original Medicare without being penalized.
Also, beneficiaries can sometimes enroll in Medicare Supplements under guaranteed issue rights without medical underwriting. There are also other circumstances where you can enroll for SEP. Get in touch with Temmen Insurance to learn what your options are.
Annual Enrollment Period
This enrollment period happens every year from October 15 to December 7. It allows you to review your Medicare plan options to make sure they are right for you. During this period, you can drop your MA plan or Part D drug plan and return to Original Medicare, or vice versa. You can also switch between MA plans and change your Part D prescription drug plan to a new Medicare Part D plan.
Get Help with your Medicare Options
Do you want to make sure you don’t miss any Medicare deadlines? Want to choose the best Medicare plan for you? Reach out to Temmen Insurance! Our insurance agent will help you with your Medicare enrollment so that you can choose the best plan and avoid late penalties.