Medicare is a great tool for a wide range of populations that need extra medical coverage. This health insurance program is widely demanded, and because of that, there are particular enrollment periods that you may be required to sign up for coverage in. An enrollment period is the time in which you are allowed to apply. It’s vital to pay attention to these periods so you won’t experience a lapse in health insurance.
Who is Eligible for Medicare?
Typically, those ages 65 and over are eligible for the Medicare program. However, there are exceptions for those under the age of 65 and who have a documented condition or disability like ALS and End-Stage Renal Disease. Depending on your age and condition, you may have to enroll in Medicare at a specific point in the year.
Are There Enrollment Periods for Medicare?
There are enrollment periods for Medicare. This means you cannot simply enroll in Medicare whenever you please. Instead, you should be aware of these enrollment periods so you can join Medicare when necessary and avoid health coverage lapses.
The first and most common enrollment period is known as the Initial Medicare Enrollment Period. This lasts a total of seven months and begins three months before you turn 65 years old. In this period, if you are not currently collecting social security benefits, you can sign up for Medicare online or by contacting social security. If you enroll in Medicare Part A but decide against enrolling in Medicare Part B but later decide you want it, you could incur late enrollment penalties.
If you miss enrolling for Medicare in your Initial Enrollment Period, you could apply during the General Medicare Enrollment Period. This lasts from January 1st to March 31st. After you enroll, your coverage will begin on July 1st.
What If I Miss Both Enrollment Periods?
If you miss either your Initial Medicare Enrollment Period or the General Medicare Enrollment Period, you may be able to enroll during the Special Enrollment Period or the SEP. This period allows you to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B if you have a special circumstance. Some of these special circumstances include:
- You change your place of residence or are released from jail
- You lose your current insurance coverage
- Your plan’s contract with Medicare changes
While these are the most common reasons covered under the SEP, there are many more personalized reasons in which you may qualify to enroll during the SEP.
Ask an Insurance Agent Today
If you have questions about your enrollment period or need help applying for Medicare, Caring Insurance Solutions is here for you. Give us a call today for a helping hand.