If you’re turning 65 this year or you just did, congrats! We want to make sure you have the necessary information to enroll in the right Medicare plan for you. Today, Fussell & Goodyear explains the Medicare enrollment periods for 2021.
Initial Enrollment Period — Will Depend on Your Birthday
Medicare is different from traditional health insurance plans. You don’t have to wait until the fall enrollment period to sign up. You’re eligible to apply just prior to your 65th birthday, and we suggest doing so to avoid having to pay late fees. It’s called your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which is a seven-month window that begins three months before your birth month and concludes the three months after. Don’t forget. Penalties apply for late enrollees.
Note: If you miss your IEP, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), based on certain criteria. SEPs are a non-standard time, and one of our agents can give you more info.
Related Post: What Is the Initial Enrollment Period?
General Enrollment Period: January 1 to March 31, 2021
The first window of the calendar year is the General Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31. During this time, you may sign up for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and/or make changes to your current health insurance plan.
If you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible, you might face a late enrollment penalty — which could apply for the remainder of your plan.
If you’re not automatically enrolled into premium-free Part A, you can sign up during the GEP. As a reminder, you can enroll in Original Medicare if you didn’t join when you were first eligible. Your coverage takes effect on July 1!
April 1 to June 30, 2021
Next, if you enrolled in Original Medicare during the GEP, you have this period to enroll in a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan. You can also join a Medicare Advantage (Part C) program.
When it comes to buying a Medigap policy, your eligibility mostly depends on your location. Plan policies vary by state. If you need assistance with comparing the best Medicare plans in your area, call us at 1-877-874-0711.
Annual Enrollment Period: October 15 to December 7, 2021
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is one you can’t miss. Yet somehow, it gets overlooked (perhaps the holiday season causes a distraction).
Between October 15 and December 7 each year, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage. If you’re pleased with what you’re getting, you can stay put.
Here’s a summary of what you can do during the fall AEP:
- Switch from Original Medicare to an Advantage plan.
- Switch back to Original Medicare from Medicare Advantage. You can also add Part D and a supplement plan.
- Switch from one Advantage plan to another.
- Switch Part D plans.
- Purchase a separate Part D plan. If you don’t sign up when you’re first eligible, it may result in a late fee.
Related Post: How to Avoid Late Enrollment Penalties
Fussell & Goodyear Can Help
Mark your 2021 calendar for these Medicare enrollment periods. Whether you’re new to Medicare or you’d like to review your current plan, we can help. Contact Fussell & Goodyear today for FREE Medicare enrollment help.