Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods

Medicare Enrollment Periods

Medicare Enrollment Periods


Journal of Financial Planning

Katy Votava, Ph.D., RN

Medicare enrollment periods and their acronyms can be confusing. Help your clients make sense of the Medicare alphabet soup so that they can make the best enrollment choices.

Medicare has many enrollment periods for the various parts of Medicare. These enrollment periods provide beneficiaries with the chance to get Medicare coverage, yet the different periods and their acronyms are confusing. A beneficiary who does not act carefully may miss a window of opportunity to have various parts of Medicare coverage. Furthermore, they face a waiting period to get coverage, incurring high out-of-pocket costs in the interim as well as paying lifelong penalties. Consequently, understanding Medicare enrollment periods, advisers can help their clients avoid these problems.

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)  The Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a beneficiary’s first opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part A and B. With the exception of those who are medically disabled under the age of 65, the IEP begins three months before the 65th birthday, and concludes at the end of the third month after the 65th birthday. Most people who are Medicare eligible should enroll for Medicare Part A during their IEP unless they were eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) later. If they do not enroll on time and are not eligible for an SEP, they will face lifelong penalties and a delay in being able to apply to get Medicare coverage……. Download the PDF article here

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