Medicare Enrollment Periods Explained

Medicare Enrollment Period

Medicare Enrollment Periods Explained

Medicare enrollment periods can be confusing for your clients. If they missed the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) or Special Enrollment Period (SEP), or even the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) they still have time. Each year, your clients can enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). Each enrollment period has certain rules around applying and when coverage can begin. We are here to help you understand when your clients can enroll and the best time to do so. Keep reading to learn more about each enrollment period available.


Initial Enrollment Period

The IEP is the first time your clients can sign up for Medicare parts A, B, C, and D. The start date Part B coverage (outpatient medical services) depends on which month they enrolled. Your clients have a seven-month window to do so:

  • three months before their 65th birthday
  • the month of their 65th birthday
  • or three months after their 65th birthday.


Special Enrollment Period

The SEP is available when certain events happen in your client’s life. For example, if they move, lose their current coverage, eligible for Medicaid or their plan changes its contract with Medicare. For a full list of the types of changes and the associated enrollment rules visit the Special Enrollment Periods section on


General Enrollment Period

If they miss IEP or SEP, your clients still get another chance to enroll with GEP. This is the time, and usually, the only time, that they can sign up for Medicare A and B if they failed to enroll when they were first eligible. It is important to note that if your clients enroll during this period (after your IEP) your Medicare coverage will not begin until July 1 of the same year.


Open Enrollment Period

OEP runs every year, from Oct 15 – Dec 7. It allows current Medicare users to re-evaluate their plans. For example, recipients can switch, drop or add to their plan. If your clients use the OEP to choose a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, that new coverage will begin on January 1. OEP cannot be used to enroll in Part A and B for the first time. That must be done during their 7-month IEP window.



Still confused about the different types of Medicare enrollment periods? Call Empower Brokerage today. Let us help with your Medicare questions so you can get back to helping your clients. We are dedicated to helping you produce a prosperous 2020-2021 Medicare season. Whether it’s through webinar training, one-on-one calls, seminars, or marketing plans. We want you to be successful. Give us a call if you have any questions 888-539-1633.

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