Medicare Enrollment Periods
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The first enrollment period is the Initial Enrollment Period. The Initial Enrollment Period is an opportunity for newly eligible enrollees to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B.
During Medicare enrollment periods:
● Newly eligible individuals can register for Medicare.
● Existing enrollees can review or switch Medicare plans.
INITIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before turning 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday.
If you were enrolled automatically for Medicare or already receive Social Security benefits, you wouldn’t need to sign up manually.
If that is not the case, you will need to sign up for Medicare during IEP to avoid the late enrollment penalty and get the most out of the available Medicare plans.
During IEP, you can also sign up for a standalone prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan. You will pay a lifetime Part B late enrollment penalty if you do not sign up when you are first eligible.
GENERAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The second enrollment period is the General Enrollment Period. If you missed the Initial Enrollment Period, you could sign up for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period.
The General Enrollment Period starts from January 1st and ends on March 31st. However, the Medicare coverage will come into effect on July 1st. If you are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Original Medicare during the General Enrollment Period.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
There is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, during which you can purchase a Medicare Supplement plan, provided that you have signed up for Original Medicare. The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period lasts for six months after you turn 65 and are enrolled in Original Medicare.
ANNUAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The Annual Enrollment Period starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th. You can make changes to your Medicare coverage during this period. For example, suppose you are an existing enrollee. In that case, you can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan from Original Medicare, switch to a new insurer, join or drop a prescription drug plan, or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage.
After making changes to your Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, the changes will come into effect starting from January 1st.
MEDICARE ADVANTAGE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
Another Medicare Enrollment Period is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. During this period, enrollees who have a Medicare Advantage plan can switch between Medicare Advantage plans or return to Original Medicare.
SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The last enrollment period is the Special Enrollment Period. During this period, you may be able to sign up for Medicare or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan under some special circumstances. For example, if you move outside your plan’s service area, you can change your Medicare Advantage plan. In addition, some other special cases may make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
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