Most people will become eligible for Medicare around their 65th birthday. Your Medicare enrollment, then, centers around your 65th birthday. Enrollment begins three months before, the month of, and three months after your 65th birthday, creating a personalized 7-month enrollment period.
This is known as the Initial Enrollment Period. It’s recommended that you enroll during this period, as delaying your enrollment can result in paying late enrollment penalties. However, if you do miss this period, you will have other options that will allow you to enroll. These options include the General Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period.
General Enrollment Period
You may still sign up for coverage at any point between January 1st to March 31st if you do not enroll when first eligible. This period is known as the General Enrollment Period.
Coverage gaps may occur because once enrolled, your plan does not begin until July 1st. You will also pay a penalty that’s added to your monthly premium due to late enrollment. The General Enrollment Period, then, is a viable option if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, just not recommended.
Special Enrollment Period
Suppose you have a specific reason why you missed your Initial Enrollment Period. In that case, you may be eligible to sign up under a Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you qualify for a SEP, you can enroll in Medicare at any point without having to pay late enrollment penalties.
Ways that you would be eligible for a SEP may include:
- Having creditable coverage through an employer group health plan
- Losing your current coverage
- Moving to a new area and needing new coverage
Need Help Enrolling? Call Carolina Senior Benefits Today!
If you’re working on or preparing for Medicare enrollment, we’re here to help. Our team of Medicare experts is ready and able to help you. Call us today at (704) 765-4689 to speak with one of our agents!