When is Your Medicare Enrollment Period?
Has Medicare been on your mind? Maybe you’re eligible, or almost eligible for Medicare. If you’re not sure when you’re eligible, the easiest way to know is when you reach the point of being in the ballpark of 3 months out from your 65th birthday. Along with turning 65, be sure to explore the other factors of Medicare eligibility. Now that you know when you’re eligible, you may wonder what the timeline for enrolling looks like. Or perhaps, you’ve had Medicare for a while, but you want to make changes to your plan. Let’s break it down.
Finding your Medicare Enrollment Period doesn’t have to be difficult. There are different options of when to enroll in Medicare, but the most common is the Initial Enrollment Period. If you don’t sign up during the Initial Enrollment Period, you may be able to sign up or change your plan during Special Enrollment Period (for special circumstances), Annual Enrollment Period, or General Enrollment Period. Learning about the periods in which you can sign up will help shape your Medicare timeline.
Initial Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period is the first time you can sign up as someone eligible for Medicare. Though it depends on your circumstances, Initial Enrollment is typically the best time to enroll. You may face fees if you wait past Initial Enrollment. Apply the below sequence to the month of your birthday, to discover when you can enroll in Medicare.
Three months before the month you turn 65 -> The month you turn 65 -> Three months after the month you turn 65
This 7-month period is the first availability you have for your Medicare Enrollment Period. If you choose not to enroll during your initial enrollment period, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
Special Enrollment Period
If you delay signing up for Medicare, or miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Depending on why you missed your Initial Medicare Enrollment Period, there are a number of factors that determine whether you qualify for SEP. Some of these possibilities include a change in where you live, a loss of current coverage, and your plan changing its contract with Medicare.
The dates of your special enrollment period depend on what your qualifying circumstances are. If SEP doesn’t apply to you, and you missed your Initial Enrollment, you may be able to enroll during the Annual Enrollment Period or General Enrollment Period.
Annual Enrollment Period
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is typically October 15 to December 7 – when you can make changes to your current Medicare plan or enroll for the first time. Whether you’re changing from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa, or adding a Prescription Drug plan, AEP is the perfect time to make changes to your plan, especially if you didn’t qualify for SEP.
General Enrollment Period
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period and you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you may be able to enroll in Medicare during General Enrollment Period. GEP takes place between January 1st and March 31st of each year. However, because GEP is past initial enrollment, you may have to pay a fee for enrolling during this period.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Application
Unlike Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance does not have the same time periods for enrollment. If you’re signing up for a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan or a prescription drug plan to add to your current Original Medicare coverage, you can apply at any time of the year. Your open enrollment period lasts for six months and begins on the first day of the month in which you’re age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. If you are applying outside of the open enrollment period or replacing current coverage, medical underwriting may apply, which may result in a denial of coverage.
Once you decide which plan you want, you’ll be able to apply during the correct Medicare enrollment period and get the coverage that’s right for you.
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NOTE: In some states, Medicare supplement policies are available to those eligible for Medicare due to a disability or end stage renal disease, regardless of age.
GA residents: THIS IS A LIMITED POLICY DESIGNED TO COVER ONLY THOSE EXPENSES WHICH MEDICARE DOES NOT COVER.
In NC, premiums are based on attained age, which means they will increase each year until age 99.
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