Medicare is very specific about enrollment and deadlines. Whether you’re new to Medicare or have been enrolled for years, it’s essential that you understand the different enrollment periods.
There are different periods when individuals can enroll in their Medicare policy or change to a different policy. Which period an individual enrolls in will depend on if they’re currently enrolled or if this is their first time signing up.
Missing an enrollment period could mean that you have to pay more or wait to enroll in the policy of your choice. Because of this, it’s best to mark the enrollment periods on your calendar so that you can always be aware of them and know when to make changes if you feel that’s at all necessary.
Initial Enrollment Period
The Initial Enrollment Period is when it’s first possible for someone to enroll in Medicare. This period begins 3 months before the 65th birthday month and ends three months after the 65th birthday month. Spanning a total of seven months, this is when it’s best for individuals to enroll in Medicare.
If you’re receiving Social Security benefits, then you’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. If this is the case, you’ll receive an enrollment packet in the mail with important information about your health insurance policy.
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, it is still possible for you to enroll in Medicare. However, it will be less convenient and you may have to pay more. This is why it’s best to enroll in the right policy the first time.
Special Enrollment Period
Some individuals will be granted a Special Enrollment Period due to certain circumstances. These circumstances could include moving, which could definitely impact network coverage, or if there are changes to your policy. If you were receiving health insurance through an employer and have since retired, then you may be granted a Special Enrollment Period.
While the Special Enrollment Period can definitely be helpful, enrolling during your Initial Enrollment Period is the best way to be sure that you have access to the health insurance coverage that you need.
General Enrollment Period
From January 1-March 31, individuals can sign up for Medicare policies. Their new coverage will go into effect on July 1, which is one of the reasons why it can be challenging to use this enrollment period. In order to avoid any gaps in coverage, it’s best to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Annual Enrollment Period
The Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period, is an enrollment period you can use after you are enrolled in Medicare. This period is from October 15-December 7 and allows you to make changes to your coverage if necessary. If you make changes and switch to a new plan, your new coverage will start on January 1.
Are You Ready to Enroll?
If you think that Medicare is the right choice for you, then make an appointment today to speak with the local Medicare professionals at Catron Insurance Agency. We’re here to walk you through the process and ensure that you have all the information you need. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing what the right insurance options could be, so make an appointment today!