Medicare Initial
Enrollment Period FAQs

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If you are turning 65 soon, your Initial Enrollment Period is likely about to start soon or may have already begun. Initial Enrollment is when most people enroll in Medicare and may choose Medicare Advantage for the first time. There are a lot of aspects to consider surrounding the topic of Medicare, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or confused. Our job is to make Medicare as easy as possible, that’s why we are here to answer those questions!

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When am I eligible for Medicare?

Generally, you are eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. You may be eligible for Medicare prior to age 65 if you are disabled or have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS.

When does my Initial Enrollment Period start?

Enrollment for Medicare isn’t always open. You first become eligible for Medicare three months before the month of your 65th birthday. Your initial enrollment period lasts for 7 months surrounding your 65th birthday and includes:

· Three months before the month of your birthday
· The month of your birthday
· Three months after your birthday month

For example, if you turn 65 in May, your Initial Enrollment Period would start in February and end in August. You can apply for Medicare Part A at any time after you turn 65. If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, and don’t have creditable coverage, like through an employer, you will likely be required to pay a late enrollment penalty when you sign up later, which you will pay for as long as you have Medicare Part B. Because of this, it’s important to apply for Medicare when you’re first eligible.

What happens if I forget to enroll in Medicare on time?

If you wait until after your Initial Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare, you may be stuck without coverage. In addition, if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, and you don’t have creditable coverage, like from an employer you will end up having to pay a 10 percent penalty for each year that you didn’t enroll if you sign up later.

When does Medicare start after I have enrolled?

Your Medicare coverage will start depending on the month in which you initially enrolled. If you enroll in the three months before you turn 65, your Medicare coverage will start the month of your 65th birthday. If your birthday is the first of the month, your Medicare coverage can start the month before your 65th birthday. If you enroll during the month you turn 65, your Medicare coverage will start the following month.

If you enroll in the three months after your 65th birthday, your coverage will start on the first of the next month.

What additional Medicare benefits are available?

Medicare Advantage plans can provide all-in-one coverage including the coverage of your Part A and B as well as coverage of prescription drugs, vision, dental and hearing. On top of that, many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits including fitness programs, medical transportation, chiropractic, and more!

What plan will cover my prescriptions?

Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. You can obtain coverage through a standalone Part D Plan OR with a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage. Be aware you may pay a penalty if you do not select some form of prescription drug coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period if you do not have creditable coverage and choose to sign up later.

Will my current doctors be covered?

Provider networks can be an important factor in your Medicare plan choice. Many Medicare Advantage Plans offer cost savings by working within a specific network. Carefully consider which of your doctors you are (or are not) willing to change, especially long-term primary care physicians or specialists for major medical needs.

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Enrollment Eligibility

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs each year from October 15 to December 7. What is the Annual Enrollment Period vs. Open Enrollment Period?

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