Medicare Special Election Periods (SEPs) are designated periods of time outside of the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) during which Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare coverage.
There are several types of SEPs that Medicare beneficiaries may be eligible for, including:
- Special Enrollment Period for Turning 65: Individuals who are newly eligible for Medicare because they turn 65 years old have a seven-month enrollment period that starts three months before their birth month, includes their birth month, and ends three months after their birth month.
- Special Enrollment Period for Disability: Individuals who become eligible for Medicare due to a disability can enroll in Medicare during a seven-month period that begins three months before their 25th month of receiving disability benefits and ends three months after the 25th month.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): This period occurs each year from October 15th to December 7th. During this time, beneficiaries can enroll in, switch, or drop Medicare Advantage plans, Part D prescription drug plans, or make changes to their existing coverage.
- Special Enrollment Periods for Special Circumstances: Beneficiaries may be eligible for a SEP if they experience certain life events, such as moving to a new area, losing their employer coverage, or experiencing a change in their Medicaid eligibility status.
- Special Enrollment Period for Five-Star Plans: Beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan that has earned a five-star rating from Medicare can enroll in a new five-star plan or switch to a five-star plan during a SEP.
It’s important to note that eligibility for a SEP depends on individual circumstances, and not all beneficiaries may qualify for every type of SEP. Additionally, some SEPs may have time limits or other restrictions, so it’s important to check with Medicare or a licensed insurance agent to determine eligibility and ensure that you are enrolled in the best Medicare coverage for your needs.
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