Enrollment Periods

Curious about when you can enroll for Medicare? There are different enrollment rules for different plans, and there are also special enrollment situations.

Call us at 217-423-8000 to find out when your enrollment period is.

Enrolling In Medicare Parts A and B

You can check your own Medicare enrollment at any time using Medicare’s “Check Your Enrollment” form.

The first time you can enroll in Medicare is called your Initial Enrollment Period. This is a 7-month window that includes 3 months before you turn 65, the month of your 65th birthday, and 3 months after you turn 65.

If you didn’t sign up for Medicare when you were first eligible, you can do so during the General Enrollment Period from January 1-March 31 each year. However, you may have to pay a penalty for late enrollment.

Once your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you might be able to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). For example, if you are still working past 65 and have coverage through a group health plan, you have an SEP to sign up for Medicare any time.

Enrolling In a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)

You can sign up for Medicare Advantage when you first get Medicare, or during your Initial Enrollment Period.

If you want to make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan, you have to do that during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) which is from October 15-December 7.

You can also make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) which is from January 1-March 31.

The difference here is that during the OEP, you can’t switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, whereas during AEP, you can.

Enrolling In a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA)

There are only two times a person is eligible to get on the Lasso Healthcare Medical Savings Account (MSA):

  1. Anyone of any Medicare-eligible age during AEP, which runs between October 15-December 7, can sign up for the Lasso MSA.
  2. Outside of that window, MSAs can be sold during the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP).

The ICEP is when someone is new to Medicare. Typically, it's when they sign up for Medicare Part B.

For example, they can be on a group health product until they're 70, and at 70, they can sign up for Part B. That's considered their ICEP, and they'd be eligible for Lasso.

The ICEP includes the month you turn 65, three months prior to that, and three months after that. You have a 7-month window for the ICEP.

By law, AEP and the ICEP are the only two times you can get on an MSA product.

Enrolling In a Medicare Part D Plan (Prescription Drug Coverage)

You can only enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you’re new to Medicare or doing the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7).

Enrolling In a Medicare Supplement (Medigap)

You can buy a Medigap plan during your 6-month Medigap open enrollment period. This period automatically starts the month you’re 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.

During Medigap open enrollment, you can buy any policy without having to answer medical underwriting questions.

Outside of open enrollment, you will have to pass medical underwriting.

If you’re eligible for a specific circumstance or guaranteed issue rights, you can switch Medigap policies without being charged more because of past or present health problems. In general, you have a guaranteed issue right if you have other health coverage that changes in some way. For example, if your Medicare Advantage plan stops giving care in your area or your employer group plan is ending.

In the state of Illinois, the guarantee issue right applies to Medigap plans A, B, C, F, K, and L. This right is valid for 63 days from the date your coverage ends or from the date of notice that your coverage will end. Companies can’t place any restrictions like pre-existing condition waiting periods or exclusions on these policies.

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