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Medicare Part B Enrollment

By December 15, 2015 No Comments

Author: Sherri VanArendonk

Enrollment in Medicare Part B can be difficult and lead to large fines if done at the wrong time. For example, if an individual fails to enroll, he or she must pay a late enrollment penalty (LEP) of 10% his or her monthly premium for life. James Sullivan, in an article published in the Journal of Accountancy, discusses how to maneuver the Part B enrollment process.

What does Medicare Part B cover?

Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical care such as: medical services, tests, and supplies used outside a hospital or skilled nursing care facility.

The 3 Enrollment Periods

Enrollment Period When Used Period
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) When eligible individual turns 65. Seven months long beginning three full months before the month in which an individual turns age 65. It ends three full months after the month of the individual’s 65th birthday.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP) Any time after the IEP when an eligible individual loses coverage in an employer-provided group health plan. Flexible: It can be used any time an eligible individual decides to terminate coverage in an employer-provided group health plan and his or her IEP is not available. Medicare Part B coverage begins the month following enrollment. If coverage is lost due to termination of employment or plan termination, the enrollment period is eight months.
General Enrollment Period (GEP) When the IEP or the SEP is not available. Jan. 1 through March 31 of each year. Medicare participation does not begin until July 1.

Source: Medicare General Information, Eligibility, and Entitlement Manual, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The IEP leads to no penalty, but may lead to gaps in coverage. The SEP can only be used by someone who is losing employer-provided coverage. The GEP is used as a last resort and may lead to gaps in coverage and late penalties.

To read the full referenced article, click here. For assistance in navigating the Medicare Part B enrollment process, please contact Sherri VanArendonk at (231) 726-5898 or

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