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January 20, 2022
What is the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

What is the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

If you are over the age of 65 and not yet enrolled in Medicare, there are only a few times you are allowed to enroll in Medicare.

One important enrollment period is the Medicare General Enrollment Period, also called the GEP. Today, we’re looking at what that is and ultimately, how to avoid it!

What is the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

The Medicare General Enrollment Period is the enrollment period for those seeking Medicare Parts A and B but have not yet enrolled in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period (the seven-month period around your 65th birthday).

This is usually the only time of year in which those who are eligible for Medicare Parts A and/or B and failed to enroll when they were first eligible have another opportunity to join.

Who is eligible for the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

The Medicare General Enrollment Period is available for those who have reached Medicare eligibility (either from disability or age) and have not yet enrolled in Medicare.

For those who have delayed enrollment, this is usually the only time of year when they are allowed to enroll in Medicare. It typically comes along with penalties and delays in coverage.

When is the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

The Medicare General Enrollment Period is available from January 1 to March 31 every year.  

If I enroll during the Medicare General Enrollment Period, when will my coverage go into effect?

If you enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage will go into effect on July 1.  

What can I do during the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

During the Medicare General Enrollment Period, those who chose not to enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period are able to enroll in Original Medicare Part A and/or B. Medicare Part A covers hospital and emergency services, and Part B covers outpatient care, such as doctors’ visits and traditional test.

It is worth noting that those who do end up delaying their enrollment face Late Enrollment Penalties that will still apply when enrolling during the Medicare General Enrollment Period.

For more information on Late Enrollment Penalties, please check out our page on understanding the different parts of Medicare.

Can I enroll in Medicare Part D during the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

For those wishing to add Medicare Part D (which covers prescription drug costs) during the GEP, a Special Enrollment Period may be available while you are enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B. As always, this may be based on your eligibility and may have late enrollment penalties.

Check out our previous blog on Medicare Part D to learn more.

What is the difference between the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Medicare General Enrollment Period?

With both the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Medicare General Enrollment Period happening in the same time frame, it might be confusing to know which period is for which needs.  

OEP is for Medicare Advantage plans and those wishing to alter their MA coverage, and GEP is for enrolling in Original Medicare for the first time. To find out more about OEP, read our previous blog that goes into more detail.

Conclusion

The Medicare General Enrollment Period provides an opportunity for those who have delayed their enrollment in Medicare Parts A and/or B.

This is, for most, the only time per year you can enroll in Original Medicare.

Ensure you don't miss your first chance to sign up for Medicare by contacting our office! Even if you're 63 or 64, we'd love to connect so we can help you plan out your Medicare enrollments and avoid any penalties and delays in coverage.

Luke Hockaday
By
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Medicare Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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