Medicare has specific enrollment periods during which you can sign up for various program parts. These enrollment periods help ensure access to your needed coverage and avoid potential late enrollment penalties. Here are the critical enrollment periods for Medicare:
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This is the first time you can enroll in Medicare. It usually starts three months before your 65th birthday and includes the month you turn 65 and the three months after. If you’re eligible for Medicare due to a disability, your IEP will begin around your 25th month of receiving disability benefits from Social Security.
General Enrollment Period (GEP): If you missed enrolling during your IEP, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. Remember that if you sign up during the GEP, your coverage may start on July 1, and you could face higher premiums for Part A and Part B.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP): This period applies to individuals with qualifying circumstances, such as continuing to work past age 65 with employer coverage or moving out of the service area of your current plan. Special Enrollment Periods allow you to enroll in Medicare without facing late enrollment penalties.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: This period, also known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, runs from January 1 to March 31. During this time, if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can switch to Original Medicare and, if desired, add a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): This period runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. During the AEP, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage. You can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, join a Prescription Drug Plan, or switch your current drug plan.
You must know these enrollment periods and decide about your Medicare coverage accordingly. Failure to complete enrollment deadlines can lead to delayed coverage and potential penalties, so staying informed about your options and timing is critical.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 6 organizations that offer 46 products in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all of your options.