It is important for all Florida residents to know about the different Medicare enrollment periods for each plan type available in the state of Florida. Understanding Medicare enrollment periods can help beneficiaries determine whether they are eligible, when to enroll, and how to avoid late enrollment penalties.
Most Florida residents will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B when they become Medicare eligible. Those who are eligible include U.S. citizens and eligible permanent residents in the state of Florida who:
If enrollment is not automatic, Florida residents can manually sign up for Original Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which starts three months before the month of Medicare eligibility and lasts for seven months. This applies to those still working or eligible for Medicare due to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
Florida residents can also enroll in Part A and B during the General Enrollment Period (GEP), which lasts from January 1st to March 31st of each year. Medicare coverage would then begin July 1st and a late enrollment penalty may be enforced. In special circumstances, individuals may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), in which enrollment into Part A or Part B would not come with a penalty.
Florida Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan when they first sign up for Part A and B. This can occur during their Initial Enrollment Period when they first become eligible for Medicare, either by age, disability, or illness, or between April 1st to June 30th, after they have signed up for Part A and B during the General Enrollment Period.
Certain open enrollment periods occur yearly for Medicare Advantage and Part D. During Medicare Annual Coordinated Election Period (AEP), from October 15th to December 7th, Florida Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare Advantage and/or Part D coverage. These changes would take effect on January 1st. There is also a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MAPD), from January 1st to February 14th, in which beneficiaries can only drop their Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. Only then would they be qualified to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan.
Special Enrollment Periods for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans also exist for those who qualify. Situations that may qualify for an SEP include moving residences, changing Medicaid eligibility, or leaving a group health insurance.
Any Florida Medicare beneficiary who is enrolled in both parts of Original Medicare may enroll in a Medigap plan any time during the year. However, the best time to enroll in a Medigap policy is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP). This period lasts for 6 months starting from the first day of the month that the beneficiary becomes both age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this period, beneficiaries in Florida have a guaranteed issue right, meaning that no insurance company is allowed to use medical underwriting to charge more for or deny Medigap enrollment due to any health complications. Florida Medicare beneficiaries who are under 65 are not qualified for this open enrollment period.