The General Enrollment Period is one of the enrollment periods available to Medicare applicants and existing Medicare enrollees. If you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period. The Initial Enrollment Period starts from when you become eligible for Medicare. To be more specific, the Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday.
During the Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll for Original Medicare. Under some circumstances, some individuals may qualify for automatic Medicare enrollment. However, if you fail to enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period and you do not qualify for automatic enrollment, then you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period.
The General Enrollment Period
As we have mentioned previously, the General Enrollment Period is another period for people who are eligible to enroll for Original Medicare. The General Enrollment Period starts on January 1 and ends on March 31. If you enroll for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, your Medicare coverage will become active on July 1.
Eligible Medicare applicants who enroll for Original Medicare during the General Enrollment Period may have to pay a late enrollment penalty. The late enrollment penalty is an extra fee added to Medicare premiums for failing to enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period. The late enrollment penalty is added to the enrollee’s Medicare premiums. For example, Part A’s monthly premium could increase by 10% if the enrollee fails to enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period. The late enrollment penalty may be active for twice the amount of time the applicant was eligible for Medicare but did not enroll. In some cases, it may be a lifetime penalty.
General Enrollment Period and Other Plans
If you want to enroll for other Medicare plans, such as Medicare Part C and Part D, you can enroll during the Annual Enrollment Period. The Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15 and ends on December 7 every year.
However, the General Enrollment Period still applies to Part C and Part D. For example, if you did miss the deadline to enroll in Original Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period and must enroll during the General Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period is not the only period you can enroll in Part C or Part D. In this situation, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D plan between April 1 and June 30. Your coverage will then begin on July 1 of the same year.
It is important to take note of the enrollment periods and enroll when you are qualified. To know more about enrollment periods and how to enroll for Medicare, contact us today at 417-633-7200.