Medicare's General Enrollment Period

What is the General Enrollment Period?

Were you unable to enroll in Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period? Fortunately, you have the opportunity to sign up for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). Those who are eligible for Medicare and fail to sign up will need to enroll during this period. Here are the things you need to know about the General Enrollment Period.

When is Medicare’s General Open Enrollment Period?

This is the Medicare enrollment period that runs from January 1 through March 31 each year. When you sign up for Medicare during this period, your health coverage starts on July 1. If you register for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period instead of during the Initial Enrollment Period, you may be penalized by Medicare.

Who’s Eligible to Enroll During the General Enrollment Period?

You could enroll in Part B if you didn’t sign up during your IEP or the Special Enrollment Period. If you don’t automatically qualify for Medicare Part A and don’t sign during your IEP, you must enroll during the General Enrollment Period.

Can You Delay Medicare Part B During the General Enrollment Period?

Generally, you can delay Medicare Part B and avoid being penalized by Medicare if you are still actively working past 65 and are covered by employer health coverage. You can also avoid the late enrollment penalty if you are covered under your spouse’s group plan.

If you delayed signing up for Medicare Part B because you have creditable health coverage, you also don’t have to worry about a late enrollment penalty. When you retire, or your health coverage ends, you can sign up for Medicare Part B during the Special Enrollment Period. So, you don’t need to wait until the next GEP to register for Part B.

Can You Enroll in Medicare Part D During the General Enrollment Period?

When you sign up for Original Medicare during the GEP, you will also get to opt for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. You can sign up for the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan starting from April 1 through June 30, and your drug prescription coverage will begin July 1. Also, remember that there is a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part D if you don’t enroll when you first become eligible. 

Do take note that if you do not enroll for Part D during your IEP or GEP, you can enroll during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) or during a Special Enrollment Period if you qualify. However, because you missed your initial enrollment, you will be penalized unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

For more information on the General Enrollment Period and how its enrollment timelines may affect you, don’t hesitate to contact Turning 65 Solutions.

Turning 65 Solutions can help you plan for the future.