Did you know that we’re partnered with Medicare Plan Finder to help Medicare beneficiaries make sure they’re getting the best coverage? There’s a catch, though…you can only enroll in Medicare during certain times of the year. Use this guide to help you figure out when you can enroll, then give Medicare Plan Finder a call to schedule a free appointment.
Your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before your 65 birthday and ends three months after, for a total of a seven month enrollment period. Some people will be automatically enrolled in Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (medical coverage), but others will need to elect to enroll. If you are automatically enrolled, you will receive a Medicare card about three months before your 65 birthday. If you wait until after your birthday, you may need to wait a few months before your coverage begins.
If you are eligible but do not enroll during your IEP, you will find a late enrollment penalty fee attached to your Part B premium.
General Enrollment Period (GEP)
If you miss your IEP, you can enroll in Medicare for the first time during the GEP, from January 1 through March 31. Then, you can add prescription drug coverage by enrolling in a prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan from April 1 through June 30. All of your coverage will begin in July.
If you pick a plan during the GEP but then change your mind, you can switch plans during AEP (see below).
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
The Annual Enrollment Period is when everyone can make changes to their Medicare plans. It lasts from October 15 through December 7 every year, and the coverage you select during AEP will usually begin on January 1 of the following year. AEP is the best time to review your current healthcare and financial needs and decide if you need to make changes to your health insurance. You can add additional coverage, like dental or vision, or you can change plans altogether. However, if you wait until AEP is over, you’ll have to wait a whole year before you have the chance to make changes again – so don’t miss it!
Some specific circumstances will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. This will mean that you don’t have to wait for AEP to make changes to your Medicare plan.
If you qualify for financial assistance, like Medicaid or Social Security, you might be eligible for a long-term SEP. That means that you can make changes to your health care during any time of the year. If you move residences, lose or gain a job, move into or out of a facility, gain or lose Medicaid eligibility, or if your plan leaves your area, you may qualify for a circumstantial SEP. This means that you have 60 days to make changes to your Medicare plan.
If you’re not sure when you can enroll, Medicare Plan Finder is a great way to find out. They can answer all your questions and help you figure out if you are eligible for any savings and if you can change plans. To get started, request a call from Medicare Plan Finder here, or call them by dialing 1-844-431-1832.