Medicare Enrollment Periods

If you are about to become eligible for Medicare, you have some important decisions to make about your healthcare coverage. If you delay your enrollment until after the initial enrollment period, you could pay a fine and there might be a gap in your coverage.  

When you have decided what parts of Medicare you want to enroll in, find out when your plan’s enrollment period is.

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.

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Medicare Special Enrollment Period

A pair of situations allow you to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. 

As previously mentioned, if you work after 65 and have employer-provided health coverage that you want to endure instead of Medicare, you are permitted to delay enrollment with no penalty. 

Another example is if you move beyond a plan’s service area. Outside of this, it would cause a two-month enrollment period where you could switch to a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. You may also go back to Original Medicare with no punishment. From time to time, you can also enroll into Medigap. 

There are other unique circumstances where you might also be eligible for a special enrollment period. To discover what options are available to you, contact experienced Medicare agent Ron Ray.

Enrolling in Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D

The annual enrollment period for Medicare Parts C and D starts October 15 and December 7. If you miss it, you may join next year. 

During annual enrollment, you can change to Medicare Advantage from Original Medicare. You can also swap Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans. 

We are here to answer your questions and ease any concerns you may have about enrolling in Medicare. Call our Texas office today at 830-217-6711.

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