Figuring out your Medicare enrollment is the first step to securing great health coverage. To figure out your Medicare enrollment, you first need to be aware of your eligibility. You can start your Medicare enrollment when you are disabled and unable to work or turn 65. The most common point of eligibility is age and is an important milestone to prepare for.
You can also enroll after receiving Social Security disability payments for 24 months if you’re under 65. You will be automatically enrolled if you meet this milestone, and reenrolled in “regular” Medicare when you turn 65.
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The Initial Enrollment
You’re coming up on your 65th birthday. What do you do now? How do you prepare? When you become eligible at this point, you can enroll during what is referred to as your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
This period happens during the 7 months surrounding your birthday. At this point, you are eligible to enroll in any Medicare plan of your choosing—Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Part C, Part D, or Medicare supplements.
You may be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. If you have retired at least 4 months prior to your 65th birthday (1 month prior to the start of your IEP), you will receive a letter in the mail letting you know that you’re enrolled. If you are still employed, you can delay your enrollment without a penalty.
What happens if you miss your IEP? The General Enrollment Period (GEP) happens every year from January 1st through March 31st. During it, you can enroll in Original Medicare for the first time if you are eligible and have not yet enrolled.
Keep in mind that the GEP is not ideal. If you didn’t enroll when first eligible, you will receive a late enrollment penalty. This is an increase to your monthly premium based on a percentage of the regular premium.
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you can enroll in a different plan or change your current coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). It takes place from October 15th through December 7th.
The AEP is a bit different than the other enrollment period. You cannot enroll in Medicare for the first time. You can, however, change your coverage. This could mean getting rid of additional coverage or adding a plan like Medicare Part C or Part D.
Have Questions? We Can Help
Better Insurance Management works with individuals to get them where they need to be in their Medicare journey. Call us today at (732) 458-5000 and we’ll walk you through the Medicare enrollment process.