| Tue, Jan 03, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare General Enrollment Period is Open

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) runs from January 1 through March 31.The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) runs from January 1 through March 31. During this time, you can enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B or both if:

  • You did not enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), the 7-month period that starts 3 months before your 65th birthday month.
  • You chose to delay enrollment when you first became eligible.
  • You previously terminated or withdrew from Part A, Part B or both and want to re-enroll.

When you enroll or re-enroll in Medicare during a GEP, your coverage begins on July 1 of the year you enroll.

During GEP you can only enroll or re-enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B or both. You cannot:

  • Join or drop a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan. (Medicare Part A and Part B together are known as Original Medicare.)
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare.

Penalties are Possible

You may be charged a premium penalty for late or delayed enrollment in Part B. (Part A is premium free for most people.) The Part B penalty is 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B and didn’t take it. The added charge to your premium continues for as long as you have Part B. In certain situations, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and avoid the penalty. (See Other Enrollment Periods below.)

After enrolling in Medicare during GEP, you may have to wait until the next Annual Enrollment Period to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D). Also, late enrollment penalty may apply if you have been without creditable drug coverage for more than 63 days when you enroll in Part D.

Other Enrollment Periods

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is October 15 through December 7 of each year. It is also called the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP). During this time, if you choose, you can change your Medicare plan choices as needed to better meet your needs.

Medicare also has Special Enrollment Periods for certain situations. For example, people who delayed enrollment in Medicare Part B (which has a premium) because they had group health coverage through their own or their spouse’s active employment may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. People who are disabled and working or covered under a working family member’s employer health coverage may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Special enrollment does not apply if you are receiving health coverage under COBRA or a retirement benefit.

For more information contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.

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