Medicare Enrollment Periods 2017 At A Glance

Medicare insurance

Annual, open, general, initial or special enrollment – the time periods when Medicare beneficiaries are allowed to enroll in, switch or cancel their plans may sound overwhelming and confusing to many persons. In the following is an overview about the different terms with a brief description.

Enrollment For Medicare Part A And Part B

Most persons will be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B automatically, starting the first day of the month they turn 65. This applies to persons who are already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB); persons who receive disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months; Persons with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

You need to sign up for Part A and Part B, if you are not receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits (for instance, because you are still working), you qualify for Medicare because you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or you live in Puerto Rico and want to sign up for Part B. If you need to apply, you may do so online or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

As you have to pay a premium for Part B, you have the option to turn it down.

General Enrollment Period (GEP) Persons who are eligible for Medicare, but did not apply when they turned 65 January 1st through March 31st Sign up for Medicare Part B. Generally, a 10 percent premium penalty will be added to your Part B monthly premium for each year you could have enrolled but did not. However, if you are covered by an employer or union group health plan through you or your spouse’s current or active employment, you may qualify for a special enrollment period. If you meet the requirements for a special enrollment period, you do not have to wait for a GEP or pay a premium penalty. You have an eight- month special enrollment period if you have group health plan coverage from current employer at the time you first became eligible for Medicare. This special enrollment period begins with the month after employment ends or the month after your group health plan coverage ends, whichever comes first.

Enrollment Periods For Medicare Advantage (Part C) And Prescription Drug (Part D) Plans

Initial Enrollment Period (1) Persons who are newly eligible for Medicare because they turn 65 During the seven month period 3 months before through 3 months after the month you turn 65 Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
Initial Enrollment Period (2) Persons with disabilities, your Medicare coverage begins 24 months after you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) disability benefits During the seven month period 3 months before through 3 months after your 25th month of getting Social Security or RRB disability benefits. Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
Initial Enrollment Period (3) Disabled Persons on Medicare turning 65 During the seven month period 3 months before through 3 months after the month you turn 65 Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan;
Switch from your current Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another plan;
Drop a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan completely
Initial Enrollment Period (4) Persons who have enrolled in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period and do have Medicare Part A April 1st through June 30th Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage)
Initial Enrollment Period (5) Persons who have enrolled in Medicare Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period and don’t have Medicare Part A April 1st through June 30th Sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
Open Enrollment Period Persons enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan; Persons enrolled in a Prescription Drug Plan October 15 through December 7 Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan;
Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare;
Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan;
Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage;
Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage;
Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan;
Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan;
Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely
5 Star Enrollment Period Persons enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan; Persons enrolled in a Prescription Drug Plan December 8 through November 30 Switch to a 5-star Medicare Advantage Plan or 5-star Medicare Prescription Drug Plan once each year
Dis-Enrollment Period Persons enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan; Persons enrolled in a Prescription Drug Plan January 1st through February 14th Leave your Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug plan and switch back to Original Medicare; If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you’ll have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage.
Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) Persons enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan In Certain Events; Persons enrolled in a Prescription Drug Plan In Certain Events At Time Of Certain Event Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP. Examples are: you move to a new address that is not in your plan’s service area; you move back to the U.S.; you move in/out an institution; you are no longer eligible for Medicaid
Copyright: MedicareAnswers.org

Enrollment Periods For Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)

Open Enrollment Period (1) Persons turning 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B 6-month period begins on the first day of the month in which you are 65 or older and enrolled in Part B; Some states have additional open enrollment periods; Some states require Medigap insurance companies to sell a Medigap policy to qualifying persons under 65 (e.g. with disabilities) Buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems
Open Enrollment Period (2) Persons eligible for Medicare who are not enrolled in Medicare Part B, but insured by group health coverage through an employer or union 6-month period begins on the first day when your employer coverage ends, and you enroll in Part B Buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems
Copyright: MedicareAnswers.org

Getting A Medicare Supplement Plan Outside The Open Enrollment Period

In most cases, you don’t have a right under Federal law to switch Medigap policies after your 6-month Medigap open enrollment period, unless you are eligible under a specific circumstance or guaranteed issue rights. In these specific situations, insurance companies are required by law to sell or offer you a Medigap policy.

By: Joseph Rosario

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