Do I Need to Use the General Enrollment Period?

If you are already enrolled in Medicare, then the General Enrollment Period is not necessary to use. However, suppose you are newly eligible for Medicare and miss your Initial Enrollment Period or don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. In that case, the General Enrollment Period could benefit you!

What is the General Enrollment Period?

The General Enrollment Period is an enrollment period from January 1 to March 31 that allows you to enroll in Medicare for the first time. When you enroll during this period, your coverage will not start until July 1. Do note that since you would be enrolling during this time due to delaying your initial enrollment, you will likely pay a late enrollment penalty.

Suppose you enroll during this period and are interested in adding a Part D plan to gain prescription drug coverage. In that case, you will have a Part D Special Enrollment Period you can utilize. This period will start in April and end in June, and your coverage will begin on July 1.

Should You Use The General Enrollment Period?

While this period can be beneficial to those who need it, it’s highly recommended you enroll in Medicare as soon as you become eligible. 

You will first become eligible in the first three months before your 65th birthday. This is known as your Initial Enrollment Period and will last for a total of seven months. Enrolling during this period will ensure that you receive your Medicare coverage as soon as possible and keep you from paying late enrollment penalties.

If you do not quite understand how the Medicare enrollment process works, there’s no need to worry! Carolina Senior Benefits has all the resources and answers you need to walk you through enrollment and make it as easy as possible for you.