Posted by MedEd at MHI
A: Think of it as your chance to do what you should have done during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you did not sign up for Part A and Part B when you were first eligible, you will not be able to enroll until the General Enrollment Period (GEP).
The GEP occurs every year between Jan. 1 – March 31. Enrollment requests submitted during this time become effective on July 1. Since both Part A and Part B are required to purchase Medicare Supplements and Advantage plans, you will not be able to purchase either one until July 1.
To make matters worse, you’ll be charged a 10 percent late enrollment penalty for each 12-month period you delayed signing up for Part B. The penalty continues as long as you remain on Medicare.
An exception to this rule applies if you or your spouse are actively working and covered by a large employer group health plan, you can enroll during a Special Enrollment Period. You won’t be subject to the delay in coverage or the late enrollment penalty. Check with your HR department or Social Security if you are unsure whether you qualify for this exception.