Medicare Enrollment

There are several times a Medicare beneficiary can enroll in Medicare. Understanding when you can enroll for Medicare and the right time to do so is an important part of getting your benefits and avoiding the late Medicare enrollment penalty. Here is a quick guide to help Medicare beneficiaries understand the different enrollment periods and when they can sign up.

Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period for most Medicare beneficiaries starts three months before their 65th birthday and ends three months following their birthday month. However, the Initial Enrollment Period is somewhat different for people that haven’t reached 65 but qualify for Medicare due to disability. During this period, you have the option to enroll in Both Part A and Part B plans, but you have the option to turn down Part B if you are covered through a union health plan or your employer.

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Medicare Special Enrollment Period

As a Medicare beneficiary, you can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you waited to enroll in Medicare when you were first eligible, depending on your current situation. One major reason Medicare beneficiaries qualify for this type of enrollment is if they were covered by a union group health plan or employer at the time they turned 65.

General Enrollment Period

Those that miss their Initial Enrollment Period have the opportunity to enroll in Original Medicare during the General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period starts from the 1st of January to the 31st of March each year, and the coverage starts on the 1st of July the same year.

Annual Election Period

This starts from the 15th of October to the 7th of December each year. The enrollment period is designed to allow Medicare beneficiaries to change their Medicare coverage. For instance, you can switch from Part A and Part B to a Medicare Advantage Plan and vice versa. You can also drop or enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

During this enrollment period, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan, which starts from the 1st of January. If you want to change your Medicare Advantage Plan to another one or switch to Original Medicare, you can do it during this enrollment period. Note that you can’t enroll for Medicare Part C from Original Medicare during this period; you can only switch plans.

For more questions about Medicare enrollment, talk to a Medicare specialist from Great Nation Insurance.