When Is the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period?
Your initial enrollment period starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65.
The one exception is if your birthday falls on the first of the month, which will make your enrollment period begin one month early. If your date of birth is November 1, for example, your enrollment period will begin July 1 and your Medicare will begin one month early, too — October 1.
During your initial enrollment period, you may enroll in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage Plan, or Medicare Part D.
When Is Medigap’s Open Enrollment Period?
Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, there is a six-month open enrollment period for Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. This duration begins with your Part B effective date. It is a one-time election period.
What If I Miss My Medicare Enrollment Period?
If this happens, you will face a few penalties. But these only affect you if you do not have any other coverage, like employer coverage.
The penalties go as follows:
- If you do not enroll in Part B during initial enrollment, your penalty will be to pay an extra 10% of your premium for every 12-month span that you should have had Part B. The 10% is added on each month for as long as you receive coverage.
- If you do not have Part D coverage and you miss your enrollment period, you will pay a late enrollment penalty, which is an extra 1% of your premium for as long as you have coverage.
- If you do not qualify for free Part A coverage because you did not work long enough and you miss your enrollment period, you will pay an extra 10% of your premium for double the number of years you did not receive coverage.
What Happens If I Have Employer Coverage?
Many folks are not ready to retire at age 65, so they continue working. Rather than signing up for Medicare, they like to continue their employer overage. You will not receive a penalty for doing this.
When you decide to retire, you can sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. This period lasts for eight months and begins either the month you or your spouse stops working or the month your group coverage ends — whichever one comes first.