Everything You Need to Know About Medicare Enrollment Periods
Turning 65 is an exciting time in life. Not only do you enter a new stage of adulthood, but you also become eligible for one of the most important healthcare programs available—Medicare. If you’re approaching 65, it’s important to understand Medicare enrollment periods and how they work so that you can get the coverage that you need.
What are Medicare Enrollment Periods?
Medicare has several different enrollment periods that allow seniors to apply for coverage or make changes to their existing coverage. These enrollment periods are as follows:
• Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): The IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and lasts until three months after your birthday month. During this period, you can apply for Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.
• Special Enrollment Period (SEP): An SEP is available if you miss your IEP or if you don’t sign up for Medicare when first eligible. This period runs throughout the year and allows seniors to enroll or make changes to their existing coverage at any time. You may qualify for an SEP if you have employer-sponsored health insurance, COBRA insurance, TRICARE or another type of health insurance plan.
• Open Enrollment Period (OEP): The OEP is the annual enrollment period that runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. During this period, seniors can make changes to their existing coverage without penalty and enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D prescription drug plan if they choose to do so.
• Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP): This period runs from January 1 through March 31 each year and allows seniors enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan to switch plans without penalty or switch back to Original Medicare with no questions asked.
Now that you know about the different types of Medicare enrollment periods, it’s time to start researching your options so that you can get the healthcare coverage that best fits your needs! With all these options available, there’s sure to be something out there that will meet your specific needs as a senior citizen over 65 years old! Understanding these details now can help ensure that your golden years are happy and healthy ones!