If your client did not enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period, then they will have to wait until Medicare’s General Enrollment Period. Every year the General Enrollment Period (GEP) for Medicare occurs between January 1 and March 31. This is the open enrollment period for Medicare Beneficiaries who missed their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and needed to sign up for Medicare Part B. If you enroll in Part B coverage during this time, then your coverage will become effective the following month after you sign up. However, signing up for Part B does not automatically enroll them in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)or a Medicare Drug Plan (Part D) .
Medicare Enrollment Dates after the GEP
Are your clients enrolling in Part B during the GEP? If they don’t pick a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) Or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) before the deadline then they will have to wait until the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) starting on October 15 to make a choice, which won’t be effective until January 1st of the following year. There are three scenarios that will affect clients who enroll during the GEP:
- The client was ALREADY ENTITLED to and is enrolled in Part A and is getting Part B during the GEP. This client can choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan to be effective the same date as his Part B. However, he cannot pick only a Part D premium.
- The client had NEITHER Part A or Part B and is getting one OR the other during the GEP. This client can enroll in PART D ONLY to be effective the same month as his Part A or Part B.
- The client had NEITHER Part A or Part B and is getting BOTH of them during the GEP. This client can choose to enroll in either a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a Medicare Drug Plan (Part D) to be effective the same month as his Part A and Part B.
Reminder About Late Enrollment Penalties (LEP)
If your Medicare client missed their Initial Enrollment Period, they may be charged penalties. Per Medicare.gov, Medicare eligible recipients will “have to pay a penalty for as long as they don’t have Part B. This may increase their monthly premium for Part B 10% for each full 12-month period that they could have had Part B, but didn’t’ sign up for it.” For more information on Part B late enrollment penalties, see the Medicare.gov explanation.