This is a three-part series featuring Medicare Enrollment Periods. Today we’re going to focus on the General Enrollment Period or GEP (January 1 to March 31).
The GEP is for individuals that did not enroll during their Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). We will feature both the IEP and SEP later during this series. During the GEP, you can enroll in Part B (medical insurance). This enrollment period runs January 1 to March 31 each year, with a coverage start date of July 1.
Although most people do not have a premium for Medicare Part A (hospital) coverage, there is a premium for Part B. If you delay enrollment in Medicare Part B, your premium could be higher and you may be required to pay a penalty which increases your Part B premium each year and may never go away.
You can enroll in Part B later, without a penalty if you qualify for a SEP. For example, you’re 65 or older, you or your spouse is currently working, and you’re covered by an employer group health plan based on that employment. There are also special considerations for those disabled and under 65 (ask for more information about these rules).
It is important to note that COBRA, VA, or retiree health plan coverage does NOT count as current employment. You’re NOT eligible for a SEP when that coverage ends. You may want to enroll in Part B during the GEP. If you have TRICARE or CHAMPVA you also must have Part B to qualify for that coverage.
Be aware there are also other important considerations for those who want to join a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan or if you are currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan and eligible for Medicare.
For more information on the various Medicare enrollment periods and how these enrollment timelines may affect you, please contact us at SENIORx Patient Advocates at 307-472-1770.