The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) lasts from January 1 to March 31 each year. It’s a time designated for Medicare newcomers looking to get started with this program. However, this enrollment period has its limitations, which are highly important to know before making use of it.
Who Is The General Enrollment Period For?
This enrollment period is for those who missed the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP lasts from three months before you turn 65 to three months after you’ve turned 65. This is one of the only instances where you can enroll without late enrollment penalties, and obtain Part A premium-free if you’ve worked at least 40 tax quarters as a US employee.
Late enrollment penalties get steeper each year you wait past the IEP, hence why you should join during the next available GEP if you miss the IEP.
What Can I Do During The General Enrollment Period?
The GEP allows you to join Medicare Part A and Part B. These both constitute Original Medicare. Part A covers inpatient treatment, and Part B covers the care you receive as an outpatient.
Part A coverage is effective once you’re formally admitted as an inpatient. Part A coverage applies to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and hospice. This covers your treatments as well as your room and board.
Part B coverage applies when you visit your primary care physician or specialist (except for those who provide dental, vision, or hearing-related services). This also covers ambulance services and durable medical equipment (e.g. walkers and oxygen equipment).
You’ll need both Part A and Part B to be eligible for other forms of Medicare coverage, such as Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage.
Enrolling in Part A and Part B initiates a Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is a six-month span of time that allows you to join a Medigap plan without risking rejection. After this point, it’s likely that your insurer won’t allow you to enroll in Medigap.
What Can I Not Do During General Enrollment?
Despite fulfilling the requirements for Medicare Advantage once you’ve joined Original Medicare during this time, you won’t be able to enroll in Medicare Advantage and/or Part D until later in the year.
If you want to join Medicare Advantage, you will need to wait until a Special Enrollment Period lasting from April 1 to June 30 in order to join Medicare Advantage or a Part D plan. If you miss this enrollment period, you can join these plans during the Annual Enrollment Period, which is from October 15 to December 7.
We’ll Help You Get Started
Senior Health Solutions makes Medicare enrollment easy. With just one short phone call or consultation, you can become a Medicare policyholder and enjoy the health savings benefits you deserve – and for the lowest costs. Call us today at (636) 244-4415.