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What You May Not Know About Insurance for Retirement - Medicare’s Enrollment Periods

Medicare’s enrollment periods. Medicare has four enrollment periods you should be aware of:

Initial Enrollment — This is your first chance to sign up for Medicare. It begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

Special Enrollment — If you didn’t enroll because you were covered under an employer’s group plan and your coverage has now ended, you may have a chance to sign up during this period. You can find specific guidelines at Medicare.gov.

General Enrollment — If you didn’t enroll in Medicare when you first became eligible — or you missed your Special Enrollment Period — you have an opportunity to sign up from January 1 – March 31. However, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Open Enrollment — This is the one time each year when you can make changes to your Medicare health and prescription drug plans for the next year. It runs from October 15 – December 7. It’s also a good time to review your existing coverage because plans can change and may no longer fit your needs.

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