Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods

Reviewed and Updated by Anastasia Iliou,

Did you know that most people can only enroll in Medicare during a few months out of the year? Read through to figure out what medicare enrollment periods you are eligible to enroll during. If you still need help, one of your licensed agents can answer your questions!

IEP (Initial Enrollment Period)

Most seniors and Medicare eligibles will begin with an IEP. Your IEP begins three months before your 65 birthday and ends three months after, for a total of a seven-month timeframe. Some seniors and Medicare eligibles will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B and will receive a Medicare card three months before their 65 birthday. Others will need to elect to enroll and will start to receive coverage within a few months.

If you have an IEP but choose not to enroll, you may be faced with a higher premium because you enrolled late. You will be able to complete your late enrollment during the General Enrollment Period.

(GEP) General Enrollment Period

The GEP is exclusively for those who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time and missed their IEP. It runs from January 1 through May 31 of each year for Original Medicare and April 1 through June 30 for prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage. If you enroll during the GEP, your coverage will begin in July.

General Enrollment Period | MedicarePlanFinder

(AEP) Annual Enrollment Period

AEP starts on October 15 of each year and runs through December 7. This is when every Medicare beneficiary can change plans or enroll in new plans. It’s a good chance for you to look at your current coverage, compare it to your healthcare and financial needs, and make adjustments if necessary. If you wait too long, you’ll have to wait a whole year before you can make changes again.

Annual Enrollment Period | MedicarePlanFinder

(SEP) Special Enrollment Period

If you qualify for Medicaid, Social Security, or another financial assistance program, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. If you have an SEP, you do not have to wait until AEP to make changes to your Medicare. Some people will have a continuous SEP, meaning they can make changes at any time. Those who have special circumstances such as moving, losing a job, or moving into a facility will have a 60-day SEP.

Special Enrollment Period | MedicarePlanFinder

Get Help Understanding Your Enrollment Period

Still not sure when you can enroll? That’s ok, it can be confusing. Call us at Medicare Plan Finder and we can help you figure out whether or not you can get into a better plan. Just click here to request a call or call us at 1-844-431-1832.

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