If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and need to enroll in Medicare, you likely will have to enroll during either a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) or the General Enrollment Period (GEP).

Part B Special Enrollment Period for losing job-based insurance

  • If you are eligible for this Part B SEP, you can enroll in Medicare without penalty at any time while you have job-based insurance and for eight months after you lose your job-based insurance or you (or your spouse) stop working, whichever comes first.
  • If you are under 65, are Medicare-eligible due to disability, and have job-based insurance through a family member’s current work, you may also be entitled to the SEP if there are at least 100 employees at your family member’s place of work.
  • Know the differences in coverage through job-based insurance if you are Medicare-eligible due to age versus disability.

Part B Special Enrollment Periods for exceptional circumstances

  • There are also SEPs for less common situations, including;
    • You live in an area impacted by an emergency or disaster
    • You got certain types of misinformation from your employer
    • You were released from incarceration
    • Your Medicaid coverage is ending
    • You experience other exceptional circumstances
  • You must meet certain requirements in order to use one of these SEPs.

General Enrollment Period

  • The GEP takes place January 1 through March 31 of each year. During this period you can enroll in Medicare Part B.
  • When you enroll during the GEP, coverage begins the first of the month after you enroll. For example, if you enroll in January, your coverage begins February 1.
  • Enrolling in Medicare during the GEP means you may have to pay a Part B premium penalty.