One of the enrollment periods for Medicare applicants is the Open Enrollment Period. The Open Enrollment Period is an opportunity for people who are eligible for Medicare to sign up if they missed their Initial Enrollment Period. The Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before turning 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday. This is when most people are first eligible to enroll in Medicare.

What is the Open Enrollment Period?

After the Initial Enrollment Period, the Open Enrollment Period (also known as the General Enrollment Period) is another chance to enroll in Original Medicare. This period starts on January 1 and ends on March 31 each year. If you enroll in Medicare during this period, your coverage will become active on July 1. 

However, while this does offer a great opportunity for people to enroll in Medicare when they miss their initial enrollment, keep in mind that many people will pay late enrollment penalties when they enroll during this period. Unfortunately, the penalty for Medicare Part B is a permanent penalty and cannot be paid off. It will also be added to your Part B premium. For this specific reason, we always recommend that you enroll as soon as you become eligible so you can avoid these penalties and the gaps in coverage.

Late Enrollment

As we have mentioned before, enrolling during this period can result in late enrollment penalties. However, if you have creditable coverage and delay your Medicare enrollment, you can qualify for another enrollment period known as the Special Enrollment Period. This particular period will let you enroll in Medicare and not have you pay late enrollment penalties. But, again, you must qualify for it. If you do not, then the Open Enrollment Period is your only option. 

With this said, we recommend that you do not wait a long time before you enroll in Medicare. That’s because the longer you wait, the more your late enrollment penalties will cost. For example, the penalty for Part B increases by 10% for each 12-month long period you did not have Part B coverage but could have enrolled.

If you need help with learning the different enrollment periods so you know when to enroll and can avoid late enrollment penalties, contact us today at 713-900-1901. We are ready and able to help you make informed decisions on your healthcare and will walk you through every step of the enrollment process.

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