Here's a photo of a woman sitting at home reading some information about the Medicare Special enrollment period.A Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is the time when an eligible Medicare beneficiary may sign up for a Medicare plan under exceptional circumstances.

It’s vital to understand eligibility for Medicare plan SEP to help avoid a late enrollment penalty.

SEP is granted to beneficiaries who were unable to enroll in a plan during the General Enrollment Period (GEP) for valid reasons.

It depends on the personal situation, such as moving out of your existing Medicare plan’s service area, losing employer-provided medical coverage or losing Medicaid eligibility.

The beginning and end dates of SEP will vary from one qualifying event to the next.

The SEP rules allow you to do one of the following:

• Enroll in Medicare Part B any time while you or your spouse are covered by a group health plan based on current employment
• Enroll in Medicare Part B during the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the group health plan coverage ends — whichever happens first. If you don’t enroll by the end of the 8-month period, you’ll have to wait until the next GEP, which begins Jan. 1 of the next year.

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