Medicare Enrollment Periods

There are several times when you can enroll in Medicare, and each of those times has certain rules around applying and when your coverage will begin. Enrolling into the right plan during the right time is essential to avoid late enrollment penalties and to not have any gaps in your healthcare coverage. Below are the key enrollment periods you need to know.

Signing Up for Medicare

Some people get Part A and Part B automatically.  If you are already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you'll get Medicare Part A and Part B automatically when you're first eligible and don't need to sign up. Part A and B will both begin on the first day of the month you turn 65.  Or if your birthday is on the first day of the month, they will begin the first day of the month prior.

Some people have to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.  If you are close to 65 but not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will need to sign up for Medicare.  You should do this 3 months before turning 65 by contacting Social Security. You can also apply online.

Enrollment Periods

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) - First-time Enrollees - You can enroll in Medicare at any time during your seven-month period which includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months following your 65th birthday month.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP) - A time other than Annual Enrollment or Initial Enrollment when people may join, change or drop a Medicare Plan. A SEP can also open for certain events such as leaving an employer's group plan or change of residence. Rules vary within each SEP for each situation.

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) - October 15-December 7 - Also known as Open Enrollment. During this time people can switch from Medicare Advantage to a Medicare Supplement. And/or join a stand-alone Part D plan.  Any and all changes that you make will take effect on January 1.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment (MA OEP) - January 1- March 31 -  People who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and would like to switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan or Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone prescription drug plan. This enrollment period on only for those with a Medicare Advantage Plan.

General Enrollment Period - January 1 - March 31 - If you did not enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and are not eligible for the Special Enrollment Period, you may enroll in Original Medicare during this time. If you enroll during the General Enrollment Period instead of during the IEP, you could face late-enrollment penalties.

Make sure you do not miss any of these important deadlines.  Reach out to Senior HealthCare Solutions today.  We are here to help! 866-MEDIGAP or