What to do if you miss your Medicare enrollment?

Enrolling in Medicare

There are three different populations that can enroll in Medicare: people who are 65 and older, younger people with disabilities, and younger people with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Most of these groups have to apply to Medicare through Social Security. There are certain enrollment periods in which you can enroll in Medicare. Read on to learn more about each of the enrollment periods and what to do if you miss one. 

Medicare Enrollment Periods

There are multiple enrollment periods for Medicare, but they all have different purposes. The enrollment periods are the Initial Enrollment, Special Enrollment, General Enrollment, Annual Enrollment, and Open Enrollment Periods. Browse through each of these enrollment periods below. 

Initial Enrollment Period

  • For: People newly eligible for Medicare at 65
  • Time: A 7-month window – 3 months before your birthday month, your birthday month, and then the 3 months after your birthday month

Special Enrollment Period

  • For: People moving out of their plan’s service area or losing coverage because their plan no longer covers them
  • Time: A 2-3 month window surrounding the loss of coverage

General Enrollment Period

  • For: People who missed the Initial Enrollment, this is the only other time they are allowed to enroll in Medicare
  • Time: January 1 – March 31st

Annual Enrollment Period

  • For: People who need to change coverage and are already enrolled in Medicare
  • Time: October 15 – December 7

Medicare Advantage/Open Enrollment Period: 

  • For: People who want to change Medicare Advantage plans, either to enroll or disenroll
  • Time: January 1 – March 31

Enrolling in Medicare for the First Time

People who enroll in Medicare for the first time normally enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period. As stated above, this period is a 7 month window surrounding your birthday month. If you are not already enrolled in Social Security, in order to enroll in Medicare during this time, you have to apply through Social Security. If you are already enrolled in Social Security, you may be automatically enrolled in Medicare if you are turning 65. However, some people miss the enrollment periods. If you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, you still have options.

What to Do if You Miss the Initial Enrollment Period

If you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, you have two options: you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period, or during the Special Enrollment Period if you qualify. The General Enrollment Period is from January 1 to March 31 and is the only other time most people can enroll in Medicare.

Things to Know

Navigating the enrollment periods if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period can be confusing. You may also be subject to a late enrollment fee. To avoid fees and learn more about the enrollment periods, contact Temmen Insurance today.

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