Enrolling within the framework of the Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) could be missed if you are not used to the system. The General Enrollment Period (GEP) plays a key significance on Medicare coverage and premiums.
In this piece, we provide a comprehensive explanation on the nuances of Medicare’s enrollment periods and how to scale through to avoid facing late enrollment penalties.
What is the Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP)?
The Medicare General Enrollment Period is a designated time frame during which individuals who missed their initial enrollment period can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B. The GEP takes place from January 1 to March 31 each year.
During this time, individuals who didn’t sign up during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) – a seven-month period that includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months following one’s 65th birthday – or those who aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.
What Does the GEP Cover?
The General Enrollment Period is specifically for enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medicare Part A primarily covers hospital insurance, including inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A because they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.
Medicare Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. There is usually a monthly premium for Part B.
When Does Coverage Start?
If you sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B during the GEP, your coverage starts on July 1 of that year. This means there could be a gap between your enrollment and the start of your coverage.
Potential Late Enrollment Penalties
A crucial area to consider when enrolling during the GEP is that you might have to pay a late enrollment penalty for Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t enroll when first eligible.
The late enrollment penalty for Part A can be up to 10% of the Part A premium, and you’ll have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you could have had Part A but didn’t sign up.
For Part B, the cost of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you went without Part B coverage. Usually, for each 12-month period you delay, you’ll have to pay an extra 10% of the Part B premium. Unlike Part A, this penalty lasts as long as you have Medicare Part B.
There are certain exceptions where you might not be required to pay the late enrollment penalty. For instance, if you’re covered under a group health plan based on your spouse’s current employment, you might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
The SEP allows you to sign up for Medicare during the eight-month period that starts the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first.
Looking for authoritative guidance as regards Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP), MedicareOnVideo is at your beck and call. We will walk you through the processes involved in Medicare enrollment.
However, you can learn more via our video titled – “Medicare General Enrollment Period – Medicare GEP”
In the same vein, you can contact us directly via 1-877-855-3484, as well as get our free ebook on Medicare titled “Medicare Made CLEAR,” which is embedded with up-to-date information on all areas of Medicare.