Apply for Medicare
There are certain times of the year when you can apply for Medicare, known as enrollment periods. Learn how and when to apply for Medicare below.
How to Apply
It depends on what part(s) of Medicare you want to enroll in:
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the best time for you to enroll in Medicare. It takes place during the seven months surrounding your 65th birthday. During this time, you should sign up for Parts A and B (if you’re not automatically enrolled), then look into options for additional coverage like Medigap or Medicare Advantage.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
he Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) takes place from October 15 through December 7 every year. During this period, you can:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plan
- Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
- Switch from an Advantage plan without Part D Coverage to one with it
- Switch from a plan with Part D coverage to one without
- Join or drop a Part D prescription drug plan
- Switch to a new insurer
General Enrollment Period (GEP)
The General Enrollment Period (GEP) is from January 1 to March 31. If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), you can use the GEP to enroll in Original Medicare or Part D.
You may, however, face late penalties for enrolling in Medicare during this period. For Part D, your premium will go up by 1% every year you’re eligible for Medicare but don’t enroll. For Part B, this annual increase can be as much as 10%.
Most people are eligible for Premium-Free Part A, so you shouldn’t have to worry about premium increases. So, if you must use the GEP, be sure to do so as early as possible.
Special Enrollment Period
Sometimes beneficiaries are granted a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Using a SEP allows you to avoid late penalties and other potential health restrictions.
There are many ways to qualify for an SEP, including:
- You moved out of your plan’s service area, have changed addresses and are still within your current plan’s service area but have new coverage options, or moved back into the US after living out of the country.
- You or your spouse are currently working, or covered by a group health plan through the employer or union based on said work.
- You must make the necessary changes to your current plan because you’re no longer eligible for Medicaid, you lost or left your employer coverage, or because you dropped your Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) plan.
- Your plan makes changes to your coverage, such as a sanction called by Medicare because a problem occurs with your current plan, or your Medicare terminates your plan or its contract is not renewed.
- You become eligible for Medicaid.
- Enrolled or lost eligibility for a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP).
- You need to be enrolled or are enrolled in a Special Needs Plan (SNP).
- An error occurred on behalf of your plan provider and/or a federal employee.
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Want to Learn More? Call InvoBH
Having the right Medicare coverage is important for seniors in St. Louis, Missouri—but applying for the right plan at the right time requires knowledge and planning. InvoBH knows how to help. So, when you’re ready to get started with Medicare, call (314) 669-4308.