Do I Have to Use the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?

One aspect of Medicare that can get overwhelming is understanding all the different enrollment periods and what actions you must take during each one. To ensure you’re taking advantage of all the opportunities available to you, let’s first do a quick overview of each enrollment period.

Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is your first chance to sign up for Medicare. This is a period of seven months, starting three months before your 65th birthday and ending three months after your birthday month. During this period, you can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. Once you’ve enrolled in these Medicare plans, you can then look at enrolling in Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, or purchasing a Medigap policy.

Be aware that if you miss your IEP, you won’t be able to enroll again until the General Enrollment Period, and you may be subject to a penalty.

General Enrollment Period

The General Enrollment Period (GEP) begins on January 1 and ends on March 31 annually. GEP is a chance for those who missed their IEP to sign up for Medicare.

Special Enrollment Period

A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is for beneficiaries who may not have been able to enroll in Medicare during other enrollment periods due to extenuating circumstances, such as already having insurance through an employer during their IEP.

Annual Enrollment Period

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the period of time between October 15 and December 7. AEP is your chance to review your Medicare policy and make changes that will go into effect at the beginning of the year.

Shortly before AEP begins, you will receive information in the mail about any upcoming changes to your current Medicare plan. You can use this information to decide if you’d like to change your insurance plan or provider.

This is also a good time to review your drug plan and decide if you would like to add or drop it. You can also switch between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare.

Am I Required to Use AEP?

The answer is no. If you are happy with your current plan, you aren’t required to participate in AEP. If no action is taken, your plan will remain the same on January 1.

However, even if you’re comfortable with your current plan, it’s a good idea to review your plan regardless, just in case. If you don’t pay attention to any upcoming policy changes, you may end up with a plan that you don’t want, and you’ll have to wait until the next AEP to update it.

Get Your Medicare Plan Today!

If you are in the market and confused about your options for Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Advantage, or any other plan, realize you’re not alone. KBI Solutions is here to help you sort through your options and pick the best one for you! Call us and sign up for Medicare today!