Are you looking for the Medicare enrollment period to signup or you would like to change your coverage? Medicare has provided different time intervals for individuals who would like to sign up or change their Medicare plan.
However, a person is not allowed to sign up or switch to another plan just anytime during the year.
Knowing the date is crucial for signing up in time, switching plans, or saving costs. Therefore it is highly recommended that you take advantage of the Medicare sign-up window.
Medicare Enrollment period can be very confusing because different enrollment periods have different dates for various reasons.
This article, therefore, explains different enrollment periods for enrolling and switching Medicare plans.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
One of the sign-up periods for Medicare is the initial enrollment period. It is a 7 months time frame that enables individuals to sign up to different parts of medicare.
During this period, an individual who is eligible for Medicare but has not signed up for the first time can enroll.
A person is eligible to sign up when they turn 65. This can be done either; 3 months before reaching 65 years, or the month of their 65th birthday. The sign-up period ends 3 months after they turn 65. Hence, this enrollment time frame lasts for 7 months.
Waiting after you turn 65 before signing up can delay the start of your initial enrollment and this leads to a penalty.
However, if you’re receiving Social security or Railroad Retirement Benefits you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. If you do not, you can sign up online via the Social Security Administration website.
During the initial Enrollment window, an individual is allowed to sign up for traditional Medicare which includes parts A, B, and D. In the same way, signing up for Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) is also available using this window.
Annual Enrollment Period
The annual enrollment period is also known as the open enrollment period. During this period, an individual can change their coverage. This period runs from October 15th to December 7th every year including 2022.
You also have to decide if your current coverage is still what you want. A person’s State’s Health insurance Assistant Program (SHIP) can help evaluate the option.
However, not all plan changes can be made at this time as you may not be able to buy a Medigap plan using the open enrollment window.
When all this is done, you can now contact a licensed agent to enroll or change the plan before the deadline. This period allows a person to
– Disenroll from medical medicare and enroll in Advantage plans.
– Switch from Medicare Advantage back to original Medicare.
– Sign up for Medicare Part D drug prescription plan.
– Change from an advantage plan to another
– Change from one Medicare Part D plans to another.
– Cancel Your drug prescription plan.
These changes are usually active starting in January the next year.
Making changes may involve signing up to a new Medicare Advantage provider. If a person’s new Medicare Advantage plan offers a drug plan, they will have to drop their precious Part D policy.
If a person is happy with their current plan, they do not have to make changes.
General Enrollment Period
The General enrollment plan begins from January 1 to March 31 every year including 2022. An individual can switch their coverage to a different plan.
During this period a person can
– Enroll in part A and B
– switch from Medicare advantage plan to traditional Medicare
– Sign up for traditional Medicare, even if they did not during their initial enrollment plan.
– Switch their Medicare Advantage plan to a different one.
Moreso, a person cannot switch from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage during this period.
When an individual signs up to Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, their coverage starts on the 1st of July.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
Every individual does not qualify for the special enrollment period. It is one of the most complicated enrollment periods.
Enrollees are entitled to make changes to their Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage when certain events occur in their life.
An example is when their healthcare period of employment ends. The period begins in the month following the end of employment or an employer insurance plan.
When you qualify for a SEP, you have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in the coverage. Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make differ for each SEP.
This enrollment period lasts for 8 months. People are allowed to also sign up for parts A and B during this period.
You can contact Medicare directly to know if you qualify for this enrollment period.
5 star enrollment period
The 5-star enrollment is an additional enrollment in Medicare. An individual can switch to a 5 star Medicare Advantage plan between December 8 and November 30th of the next year.
Medicare rates Advantage plans by stars and updates these scores regularly. However, individuals can make decisions on the most significant private insurer from whom to buy an Advantage plan.
Medicare measures plan by several factors including;
– the member rating of the plan
– How many people typically leave a plan in a year
– How adequately the plan covers chronic health ailments.
Not every region or state has providers that offer them nevertheless you can search if you are eligible for this enrollment using Medicare’s plan finder.
Different parts of Medicare have different sign-up dates. This signup window occurs at the same time every year.
Individuals who are eligible for Medicare can enroll during the Initial enrollment period. However, an individual can also decide to switch their medicare plan for various reasons.
Understanding the enrollment windows can also help to avoid penalties and keep the cost of their plans low.
You can find out more about available Medicare plans by contacting a local SHIP or by looking at the online plan finder.