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Enrollment Periods for Medicare: What You Need to Know

Posted by Melissa Hanes
Estimated Reading Time 1 minute 46 seconds

Enrollment Periods for Medicare: What You Need to Know

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is underway now! However, it’s not the only enrollment period that you need to be aware of as a Medicare beneficiary. Understanding the various enrollment periods associated with Medicare is crucial to ensure you can access the coverage you need at the right time. Here is a breakdown of what you should know.  

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The Initial Enrollment Period is the first opportunity most individuals have to enroll in Medicare. It typically spans seven months, starting three months before the month of turning 65, including the birthday month, and extending for three months afterward. During this period, you can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B. Missing this initial enrollment period can result in penalties and delays in coverage.

General Enrollment Period (GEP). If you missed the Initial Enrollment Period, you have another chance to enroll during the General Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, coverage won’t begin until July 1 of that year, and late enrollment penalties may apply. It’s essential to carefully consider if this enrollment period is the right time to join Medicare.

Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). Special Enrollment Periods are available for those who experience qualifying life events, such as retiring and losing employer coverage, moving to a new area, or other specific circumstances. SEPs provide an opportunity to enroll in or make changes to Medicare outside of the standard enrollment periods without facing penalties.

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The Annual Enrollment Period is a critical period for making changes to Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D). It runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. During this time, you can switch between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, change or enroll in a Part D plan, or alter your existing Part D coverage.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 annually. During this period, those of you with a Medicare Advantage plan have the option to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or return to original Medicare. You can also enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan if you return to original Medicare.

Understanding these enrollment periods and their significance is vital to ensure timely and appropriate enrollment in Medicare. It’s essential to plan ahead, carefully evaluate plan options, and consider personal circumstances and healthcare needs when making decisions about Medicare enrollment. This way, you can secure the plan that best suits your requirements and promotes your overall health and well-being.

Melissa Hanes //

I was born in Oklahoma and raised in Neosho, MO. My husband (Derek) and I have 6 children and 6 sweet grandchildren who we adore. It wasn’t until 2009 when I moved back to Oklahoma that I started my insurance career and developed a passion for educating seniors on their rights and options regarding Medicare. Over the last decade I’ve been helping this under served population by empowering them to make the best insurance decisions for their individual healthcare needs.

In 2019 I resigned my position as Sales Manager for one of the nation’s largest Medicare insurance carriers to join the amazing team at OKMedicareHelp. I provided support, training and mentorship to hundreds of independent insurance agents around the state of Oklahoma and gave them the tools they needed to make the right impact for Medicare beneficiaries. The experience I gained in my previous role gave me a unique look at how to help navigate the complexities of Medicare for both Medicare beneficiaries and agents alike.

I pride myself on operating with the highest integrity and having a heart to serve our local senior community. I would be honored to help you navigate the complexities of Medicare and be of service for all your insurance needs.

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