Paying attention to the various Medicare enrollment periods can save you the hassle of dealing with late enrollment penalties and trying to obtain proper coverage.
Here are some of the most important enrollment periods.
Initial Enrollment Period
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a seven-month period where you can enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, C, or D. It starts three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after. If you are enrolled in Social Security, then you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B).
Once your Part B coverage becomes effective, you will have a six month guaranteed issue right to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan. You will also be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan once you’re enrolled in Original Medicare.
General Enrollment and Special Enrollment
The General Enrollment and Special Enrollment Periods are crucial if you have missed your IEP deadline.
The General Enrollment Period (GEP) starts January 1 and ends March 31, but your coverage won’t start until July 1. You may also have a late enrollment penalty.
The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) gives you the opportunity to sign up for Medicare or switch to a new Medicare plan, but only if you are in a special circumstance, such as:
- Moving out of your plan’s service area and needing a new plan
- Delaying enrollment because you had creditable coverage
- Your plan’s contract with Medicare was changed
- You lost your current coverage