What’s the Medicare GEP
The Medicare GEP (general enrollment period) is a chance for eligible individuals to enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. The GEP runs each year starting January 1st and ending March 31st. In years when the GEP ends on Saturday or Sunday, Social Security allows individuals to enroll the following Monday in one of their local offices. If they receive a written request for enrollment with a stamp dated by the last day of the GEP, Social Security will honor it.
Who can enroll during the GEP
If individual is eligible for Medicare benefits and has to pay a Medicare Part A premium, they can use the GEP to enroll in Medicare. If they are like most people and do not have to pay a Part A premium, they can enroll in Medicare Part A anytime. Eligible individuals who did not enroll in Part B during either their IEP or an SEP can use the GEP to enroll in Medicare Part B.
Is there a penalty for enrolling during the Medicare GEP
Eligible beneficiaries who went a year or more without Part B or Part A, if they have to pay a premium for it, may pay a late enrollment penalty when they use the Medicare GEP to enroll. Penalties for Part A and Part B differ. See below for details:
The penalty for Part A only applies to individuals who are not eligible for premium free Part A benefits. If a penalty applies, 10% is added to the premium cost. The penalty lasts for twice the number of years the enrollee delays Part A enrollment. For example, (If enrollment was delayed for 2 years, a penalty applies for 4 years).
Part B penalties add an additional 10% to the Part B premium each year the beneficiary delays Part B enrollment. An example is (a delay of 2 years will equal a 20% penalty). The Part B penalty lasts for as long as they have part B coverage.
Those who did not enroll in Medicare Part B because they had insurance coverage through theirs or a spouse’s employment, do not pay an LEP. There is also no penalty for beneficiaries who qualify for an MSP (Medicare Savings Program).
Before 2023, no matter what date beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare during the GEP, their coverage would start July 1. Since the CMS rule change that began is 2023, there are no longer delays in Medicare effective dates for beneficiaries who enroll during the GEP. In other words, coverage begins the first day of the month following the enrollment.