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Medicare Enrollment

Understanding the different enrollment periods is an important process in knowing when to enroll in Medicare or change your coverage. Let’s go over some of the most common enrollment periods you will come across when it comes to Medicare.

First Eligible for Medicare: Initial Enrollment Period

The initial window for Medicare enrollment opens three months before your 65 birthday month, extending through the month of your birthday, and closing three months after. This means there is a seven-month-long opportunity to first enroll in Medicare. The exception would be if you qualify for coverage earlier in life because of a disability. Enrolling during your first window of opportunity is ideal for ensuring your premiums are as low as possible.

Avoid the Penalty:

If you do not sign up for Medicare when you are first eligible, in most cases you will have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B.  The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up.  

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Open Enrollment

If you are interested in Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), you will need to enroll in the six-month window, which starts on the first day of your 65th birth month and once you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Failure to do so will jeopardize your ability to buy a plan in the future due to having to Medically qualify. If you enroll during your Medicare Supplement (Medigap) open enrollment period, you do not need to Medically qualify to obtain Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance. Keep in mind, you can apply for Medicare Supplement (Medigap) 6 months before your 65th Birthday or 6 months before your Part B effective date (whichever is later).  

General Enrollment

If you do not acquire Part A or Part B within your initial opportunity window, you can reapply during the general enrollment period, though you may be penalized. This allotted period is between January 1 and March 31 of every year. Your coverage will start on July 1. 

Annual Enrollment Period

Unless you are still in your initial enrollment period, once enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan,  you can only make changes and adjustments to an existing Medicare Advantage plan during the annual enrollment period. (This lasts from October 15 through December 7 of every year, and your changes will take effect the following January 1). Permitted changes include:

  • Switching from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (or vice versa).
  • Adding or removing a prescription drug program to your existing plan.
  • Changing insurance providers. 

Date Restrictions Do Not Apply to Medicare Supplement

If you have Original Medicare, and a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap), the annual enrollment period does not apply and you can attempt to change Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans anytime of the year.

If you are Unhappy with a Medicare Advantage Plan, You Can Change Plans Each Year, During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

If you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan, you have options. Each year, there is a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 through March 31 every year. During this time, you can add a prescription drug plan, switch to an Original Medicare plan, or change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan. 

Special Enrollment

Unless you are still in your initial enrollment period, once enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan,  you can only make changes and adjustments to an existing Medicare Advantage plan during the annual enrollment period. (This lasts from October 15 through December 7 of every year, and your changes will take effect the following January 1). Permitted changes include:

  • Switching from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (or vice versa).
  • Adding or removing a prescription drug program to your existing plan.
  • Changing insurance providers. 

Need Help Enrolling? Give Us A Call

If navigating these guidelines and time frames seems overwhelming, help is available. Reach out to us today to learn more about the enrollment periods, and we will walk you through the enrollment process!

COMPARE MEDICARE PLANS

There is no charge to clients for our services. We would be honored to help walk you through this process!

Any questions? Feel free to give us a call.

972-BENEFIT

972-236-3348​

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