senior enrolling in Medicare

What is the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) takes place annually from January 1st through March 31st. Let’s take a look at what it is and how to use it.

How Medicare Eligibility Works

To understand the General Enrollment Period (GEP), you need to understand Medicare eligibility. The average person will qualify for Medicare starting at 65 years old. You can start the enrollment three months before your 65th birthday. Then, you’ll have the month of and three months after your birthday to enroll within your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).

Generally speaking, the IEP is the best time to enroll in Medicare. You can enroll in any plan of your choice, namely, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), or Part D. If you’re retired before your IEP starts, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare.

When to Use the General Enrollment Period

So, with all of that in mind, where does the General Enrollment Period (GEP) fit in? Well, what happens if you don’t enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) but still want to enroll?

You can enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) during the GEP. If you weren’t automatically enrolled and chose not to enroll yourself or purposefully delayed your coverage, you can enroll during the GEP.

How Late Penalties Work

However, there’s a reason why we mentioned that the IEP is the best time to enroll in Medicare. If you delay enrollment past your IEP, you may be charged late enrollment penalties.

Every year you don’t enroll once you’re eligible, your Part B premium may increase 10%.

Notice that we haven’t mentioned a Part A late penalty. Almost everyone qualifies for premium-free Medicare Part A. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about a late penalty. However, if you have to pay a premium, you will have to pay the penalty for twice the amount of time you went without Part A coverage.

So, it’s best to avoid these penalties if you can. And, if you’re enrolling during the GEP, you’re likely in the situation where you’ll have them. But, if you’re still working at age 65, you can wait to enroll without a late penalty until your employer health plan ends.

Find Medicare Coverage Today

Secure Insurance Group makes enrolling in Medicare and sorting out your coverage easy. Get a quote or call 1-877-871-7328.