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3 Key Periods You Need to Know

Medicare Enrollment | 3 Key Periods You Need to Know

Let’s talk about three key Medicare enrollment periods. We’ve got some acronyms and dates here, but don’t worry, you’re not going to have to figure it out by yourself. We’re going to break it down.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

First, you will have an Initial Enrollment Period or IEP. It’s your grand entrance into the world of Medicare. Opening day of your Medicare journey starts three months before the month of your 65th birthday, and it ends three months after – so seven months altogether. You’ve got plenty of time to get onto Original Medicare. So that’s your opportunity to enroll in Part A and Part B if needed, avoid penalties, and make sure you have seamless coverage.

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

What if you missed your Initial Enrollment Period? You get a second swing at it during the General Enrollment Period, or GEP. It’s sort of a Medicare mulligan — from JANUARY 1st to MARCH 31st. If you enroll during this period, your coverage will begin on July 1 of the same year. Better late than never, right?

It’s important to note that there may be late enrollment penalties if you wait to sign up for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) during the General Enrollment Period, and you may have gaps in coverage if you delay enrollment. That’s why you should mark your calendar for that Initial Enrollment Period and not put it off.

Annual Election Period (AEP)

Lastly, we’ve got the Annual Election Period, or AEP. This will happen every year from OCTOBER 15th to DECEMBER 7th. It’s like Spring cleaning for your healthcare plan … except in the Fall. We change — our needs change, our health changes, and so does our Medicare coverage! AEP is your opportunity to review and switch things up … get it dialed in for the following year.

I’ll leave you with this — If you can remember when TV had three channels, and we had to get up to change them. Let’s talk. Whether you’re entering your Initial Enrollment Period, fixing a missed opportunity during a General Enrollment Period, or just fine-tuning things during an Annual Election Period, let’s make SURE you’re making informed decisions.

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