Medicare Enrollment

You don’t always have to sign up to get Medicare. But depending on your situation and which part or plan you’re interested in, enrollment may occur only during certain times of the year.

If you’re newly eligible for Medicare, you have some flexibility. However, if you’re already enrolled in Medicare and looking to change your policy, it can be complicated. Mark your calendar for the fall AEP (more on this below).

Initial Enrollment Period

The IEP is given to each beneficiary newly eligible for Medicare. It extends for seven months, beginning three months before your 65th birthday and ending three months after your 65th birthday. During your IEP, you have access to all of the plans available and can choose the one which will be best for you.

If you’re eligible for automatic enrollment, you’ll receive your Medicare packet around your 65th birthday. This will detail your new coverage and explain any details that come along with your policy. Make sure to hold on to this packet, as it can be a helpful reference in the future.

It’s important to enroll during your IEP as penalties can be added on if you delay enrollment. Make sure to enroll when it’s first possible as it can save you money and ensure you have access to quality healthcare when you need it. If you miss your IEP, there are still options for Medicare enrollment. You may need to pay some additional costs, but you can still enroll in the coverage that fits your budget and lifestyle.

General Enrollment Period

The GEP is an alternative option for Medicare-eligible individuals to begin their enrollment. This period lasts from January 1-March 31. If you enroll during this time, your new coverage will take effect July 1 of that year.

While the GEP exists to ensure that those who missed their IEP still have access to Medicare, it’s not the best option. One of the primary reasons is because of the delay in coverage that comes with it beginning on July 1. You also may face late enrollment penalties.

Special Enrollment Period

This type of period exists to cover circumstances that don’t fit the two mentioned. Because your needs can change rapidly, Medicare recognizes that there are certain situations which can’t always be accounted for beforehand. For example, if you already have current health coverage, such as with your employer, you can delay your Medicare enrollment and enroll during a SEP without facing penalties.

Some Medicare policies rely on location and won’t be effective if the beneficiary moves outside of that network. In this situation, many are granted a SEP so that they can gain coverage within their new network.

Special Needs Plans provided by Medicare are another example of when a SEP can be utilized. If you’re diagnosed with a condition that would qualify you for a SNP, then you can most likely use a SEP to change your policy.

Annual Enrollment Period

The AEP begins on October 15 and ends on December 7. This period grants Medicare beneficiaries the option to review their Medicare health and drug coverage and determine if the plan still works for them — or if they should switch plans. If you choose to switch your plan or enroll in another, your coverage will begin on January 1.

The enrollment process

Enrolling in Medicare can be done in person at a Social Security office, online, or over the phone. If you’re wanting to learn more about Medicare or have some questions, let us know. Located at 12130 Southwest 3rd Street, Yukon, OK, our team is here to provide consultations and help you decide which Medicare policy is right for you.

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