Medicare enrollment depends on a few important factors, including age, time of year, and special circumstances. Let’s take a look at these different periods to help you understand the best time to enroll in Medicare.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is based on your age. Your Medicare eligibility typically begins when you turn 65. At this point, your IEP officially begins. You can apply for Original Medicare, a Part D prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan.
Suppose you are not automatically eligible or would like to apply for an Advantage or Part D plan. In that case, you will still want to do so within your IEP. You will have later opportunities to do so, but if you postpone it, you may experience a gap in coverage or late fees in your monthly premium.
To enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, you will have six months from the time you are enrolled in Part B to enroll.
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment
Annual Open Enrollment offers Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity to change their current coverage. It occurs from October 15 through December 7. During this period, you may:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
- Switch from an Advantage plan without Prescription Drug Coverage to one with it
- Switch from a plan with prescription drug coverage to one without
- Join or Drop a Part D Prescription Drug Plan
- Switch to a new insurer
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Medicare Special Enrollment Period
Applying under the Annual Enrollment Period, you may face late penalties for applying after your IEP. The Special Enrollment Period (SEP), however, allows for exceptions without late fees. If you fall under one of these categories, you may apply penalty-free under a SEP:
- You no longer live in your plan’s service area.
- You or your spouse are still working.
- You must make the necessary changes to your current plan.
- Your plan makes changes to your coverage.
- You are eligible for Medicaid.
- You enrolled or lost a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP).
- You must be or are enrolled in a Special Needs Plan (SNP).
- An error occurred on behalf of your plan provider or a federal employee.
Ready to Enroll in Medicare?
Understanding your Medicare coverage options can seem like an impossible task. With so many plans to choose from, where do you even begin? That’s why we’re here to help—World Financial Solutions will walk you through the Medicare application process to a plan that gives you the coverage you need. When you’re ready for your free consultation, give us a call at 281-639-7787.