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All health insurance plans – whether it be an employer plan or a private plan or Medicare – have certain specified dates during which you can sign up for plans, make changes to plans, or leave plans. These dates are known as “enrollment periods”.
Outside of these enrollment periods, you must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period in order to make changes to your plan. Contact us to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and take advantage of enrolling in a new plan!
It’s important to meet the various Medicare deadlines in order to avoid penalties! Never miss a deadline with our free automatic deadline reminder service. It’s free and easy to enroll by clicking here.
Initial Election Period (IEP)
The period of time during which a person first becomes eligible for Medicare is called the Initial Enrollment Period. The IEP typically refers to eligibility in Original Medicare, which is only Part A (hospitalizations) and Part B (medical care) of Medicare. Most people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65, however some others become eligible due to disability or illness. The IEP for people who “age in” to Medicare eligibility takes place 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and the 3 months following the month of your 65th birthday (seven months total).
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as MediGap, also have an IEP which lasts 13 months. The IEP for Medicare Supplements begins six months before the month in which you turn 65, continues the month of your 65th birthday, and ends six months later. It may seem hard to believe, but this means you are able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan before you even enroll in your Original Medicare coverage!
Guaranteed Acceptance Period
During the IEP is also the best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan because there is a Guaranteed Issue, also known as Guaranteed Acceptance Period (GAP). During the Medicare Supplement IEP, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan without having to go through medical underwriting. In other words, during this time, you cannot be denied acceptance in a plan based on your health conditions. Contact My Medicare Partners for more information on IEP and and how to enroll in a Medicare Supplement without missing your Guaranteed Issue period!
General Enrollment Period (GEP)
If you miss your Initial Election Period, you may sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the General Enrollment Period, which runs January 1 – March 31 of each year. Coverage will begin on July 1 for people who enroll during the General Enrollment Period.
Because a person is enrolling “late” when enrolling during their GEP, they may be subject to late-enrollment penalties.
Annual Election Period (AEP)
Also known as Open Enrollment, the Annual Election Period takes place each year from October15 through December 7. The AEP allows you to enroll in, or change, or disenroll from a Part D Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Plans elected during the AEP become effective January 1 of the following year. Pre-Open Enrollment for Part D and Medicare Advantage plans takes place from October 1 until October 14; however, you are only able to “browse” plans during this time and cannot enroll until October 15.
Annual Disenrollment Period (ADEP)
Allows you to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare only. Also allows disenrollment of a Part D drug plan. The ADEP takes place each year from January 1 until February 14. These changes become effective the first day of the following month.
Once a person “returns” to Original Medicare during the ADEP, they may be able to then select a Medicare Supplement plan to help keep costs low and to offer them more convenience in their coverage. It’s very important to disenroll with the assistance of a licensed Agent, as you do not want to be without insurance coverage for any period of time!
Special Enrollment Periods
You may also qualify for Special Enrollment Periods which allow you to make changes outside of the preset dates, if you experience certain events in your life. Examples of qualifying events may include, but are not limited to,
- moving from one state to another
- losing employer or group coverage
- your current plan is no longer being offered / is no longer available
Please contact us for more information and to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period!
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