Medicare is very specific about the dates when enrollment and policy changes can be made. Because of this, it’s important to keep track of those time periods so you can make any policy adjustments if needed.
Understanding the different enrollment periods is essential whether you’re new to Medicare or have been enrolled for years. Let’s go over the different periods and when they occur, so that you can mark your calendar and be prepared when these times come.
The Initial Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period will span seven months total, beginning three months before your 65th birthday and ending three months after your birthday. If you’re receiving Social Security benefits you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. Your Initial Enrollment Period is when it’s best to make any changes to your policy. During this time, you’ll have access to all the possible coverage and won’t be charged any additional fees.
If you decide to delay enrollment, then you may be charged extra for your coverage when you do enroll. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you’re keeping track of your Initial Enrollment Period and researching all your options beforehand. Learning about all of the different Medicare possibilities is one of the best ways to be confident in your Medicare decision and be prepared before your Initial Enrollment Period even begins.
The General Enrollment Period
Individuals can enroll in Medicare or make changes to their policy from January 1-March 31. If your current Medicare coverage isn't the right fit for you anymore, take this time to make potential adjustments and speak with a licensed insurance agent to discuss the right options for you. If you do enroll during this time your coverage will not begin until July 1, which is another reason why it’s best to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period. Having a gap in coverage could cost you money, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Special Enrollment Periods
Special Enrollment Periods are given to individuals that have a valid reason for delaying their Medicare coverage. If you still have employer health insurance by the time that your Initial Enrollment Period ends, consider if a SEP could be the right option for you. If you move and your network coverage is no longer available, then you might be able to get a SEP that would allow you time to find a suitable alternative.
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Taking advantage of enrollment periods
Keeping track of Medicare dates is important. Because policies can change yearly, it’s essential that you remain updated on your coverage and make changes if needed. If you’re wondering what the best enrollment option for you is, make an appointment to speak with a professional. They’ll be able to answer your questions and ensure that you’re enrolling in Medicare during the right time.
Medicare decisions don’t have to be overwhelming or complicated, so let us help you through the enrollment process. Our professionals are here to provide support and help ensure that you select the right policy.
Our firm is not affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. Insurance products are offered through the insurance business Heritage First. Heritage First is also an Investment Advisory practice that offers products and services through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM), a Registered Investment Adviser. The AEWM does not offer insurance products. The insurance products offered by Heritage First are not subject to Investment Advisor requirements. AEWM and Heritage First are not affiliated companies.
Any and all other services related to Medicare are an outside business activity and are not offered through or supervised by AE Wealth Management, LLC.