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Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
What is the Medicare Special Enrollment Period?
The Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) takes place when certain events or life changes occur, giving you the opportunity to make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Prescription Drug plan.
You typically don’t have to worry about a late enrollment penalty if you meet the requirements for SEP, but there are special rules about the changes someone can make during this time. New coverage will begin on the first day of the following month (so if you qualified for SEP in February, your coverage would begin in March).
Qualifying Examples for SEP
There are several types of Medicare Special Enrollment Periods with different qualification standards for each. Some of the most common Special Enrollment Period events for Medicare Advantage include:
- Moving to a new address that isn’t in your current Medicare plan’s service area
- Moving to a new location where new Medicare plan options are available, even though your current Medicare plan also includes coverage for your new address
- Returning to the U.S. after living outside the country
- Moving in or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term care hospital
- Being released from jail
We can help simplify the Medicare process and make sure you understand the ins and outs of the Special Enrollment Period. There’s no obligation to enroll.
What else should I know about Special Enrollment Periods?
If you delayed enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B because you or your spouse worked after turning 65 and are losing your group coverage, you typically qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B). During this SEP, you may:
- Enroll in Part B (and Part A if you haven’t already). You’ll be given a Special Enrollment Period of eight months to sign up starting the month that follows the end of your employer coverage.
- Enroll in Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) or a Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D). You have two months to enroll in these options.
Additionally, there’s a Medicare Advantage SEP for individuals who are Dual-Eligible or receive “Extra Help” (also known as Low Income Subsidy). Extra Help is a federal program that helps pay for some to most out-of-pocket costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. If you receive Extra Help in 2022, there is a SEP to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with or without drug coverage, a Part D plan, or to switch between plans. This SEP is available once per quarter for the first three quarters of the year (January-March, April-June and July-September). Coverage changes become effective the first day of the month following the change.
For information on the other types of Medicare Enrollment Periods, click on the links below:
Better understand your Medicare options with SelectQuote
SelectQuote is here to help you understand Medicare Special Enrollment Periods and the available Medicare plans in your area. We can walk you step-by-step through the process and help you find the option that’s right for your needs. There’s no obligation to enroll.