If you’re 65 years or older, you’re eligible for Medicare — regardless of whether you’re still working. While it is primarily intended for those in retirement, certain younger people with disabilities may also qualify. Enrolling in Medicare will not be the same for everyone, as it depends on the coverage you need. However, when it’s time to choose a plan, you should enroll within the allotted window or you’ll be subject to a late fee.
Medicare Enrollment Periods
There are certain times of the year, called enrollment periods, when you can enroll in Medicare for the first time or make changes to your existing coverage. Your initial enrollment period is a seven-month window surrounding the months of your 65th birthday. This is the best time to self-enroll in Parts A and B if you’re not enrolled automatically. If you already have Medicare, you can join, drop, or change your Medicare health or drug plan during the fall Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7). Mark your calendar for these enrollment periods!
Late Enrollment Penalties
If you choose to not enroll in Medicare when you first become eligible — during your Initial Enrollment Period — then you may have a late enrollment penalty. This means that there will be an additional cost that must be paid once you enroll.
If you have a late enrollment penalty with Part A, you will be able to pay this penalty off. However, Part B and Part D penalties are permanent. A Part D penalty may apply if you were without prescription drug or other creditable drug coverage for longer than 63 days while you were eligible for Medicare.
Do You Get Extra Help?
In some cases, it’s possible to get a late enrollment penalty removed. For example, you can have Social Security waive your Part B penalty if, for some reason, you received bad advice from the federal government regarding enrollment.
If you have a Part D late enrollment penalty but receive Extra Help, then the penalty will be removed. If you’re under the age of 65 but are enrolled in Medicare, your late enrollment penalty will be removed once you turn 65.
You may even have your Part D late enrollment penalty paid for you if you qualify for a state pharmaceutical assistance program.
Appealing the Penalty
So, if you get a letter in the mail telling you about the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty, you have 60 days to appeal this with a company contracted by Medicare, called C2C Solutions.
Contact Us for Guidance
Knowing when to enroll in Medicare can be tricky. If you’d like some help, contact us at Turning 65 Solutions. We’d be happy to discuss your needs and situation, and help you find the right plan at a competitive, affordable price. We can also point you in the right direction for appealing a late enrollment penalty.