Congratulations on turning 65! While most of the public will rely on private or public health insurance, you’re now eligible to enroll in Medicare coverage, health for insurance Seniors.*
Enroll in Medicare as soon as you can.
The Initial Enrollment Period
for Medicare lasts for seven months, starting three months before you turn 65, and ending three months after the month you turn 65.
If you enroll in Medicare during this time, you can expect coverage shortly after (which we’ll discuss later) and avoid paying any late enrollment penalties.
Avoid late enrollment penalties.
If you don’t enroll in Medicare during your Initial 7-Month Enrollment Period, it’s possible you have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
When it comes to Medicare, there is Part A (hospital expenses) and Part B (outpatient medical expenses). While some Seniors are eligible to enroll in Part A for free while Medicare Part B requires a monthly premium. If you miss your Initial 7-Month Enrollment Period, you may have to pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage and a late fee on Part A for those who pay a Part A premium. To avoid any penalty payments, enroll during your Initial 7-Month Enrollment Period.
Medicare coverage starts depending on when you sign up.
Seniors who are eligible for premium-free Part A would have coverage starting the month they turn 65. If your birthday is on the first of the month, coverage starts the month before you turn 65.
For Part B (and Premium-Part A), coverage starts based on the month you sign up.
If you sign up for Medicare:
- Before the month you turn 65, coverage starts the month you turn 65
- The month you turn 65, coverage starts the next month
- One month after you turn 65, coverage starts two months after you sign up
- Two to three months after you turn 65, coverage starts three months after you sign up
General Enrollment Period is for Seniors who did not enroll during their Initial Enrollment Period.
Between January 1 and March 31 of each year, Seniors can sign up for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period. Coverage for those signing up during this period starts July 1.
Those who don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you may have to pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
There are Special Enrollment Periods for Seniors under special circumstances.
You can sign up for Part B (and Premium-Part A) during a Special Enrollment Period without paying a late enrollment penalty. If you miss sign up during this period, you have to wait for the next General Enrollment Period and you might have to pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
Special situations include:
- If you have health insurance through your employer and are still working, you can sign up for Part A and Part B any time as long as:
- You have group health plan coverage
- You or your spouse is working for the employer that provides your health coverage
- You or your spouse stop working or you lose group health plan coverage (whichever happens first). Your 8-month Special Enrollment Period starts when you stop working, even if you choose COBRA or other coverage that’s not Medicare.
- You may also qualify for special enrollment if you’re a volunteer, serving in a foreign country.
Once you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you’re eligible to enroll in additional coverage.
Now that you’ve enrolled in Medicare, you can also enroll in additional plans that help pay for out of pocket expenses left behind by Medicare.
Get one-on-one support from an agent.
Licensed insurance agents can help narrow down your Medicare coverage options based on your state, age, health, lifestyle, and needs. While your coverage and needs may change year to year, an agent can help you through any enrollment period so your needs are met. Call one of our licensed agents today for more information on Medicare.
Save yourself the headache and enroll in Medicare as soon as you can.
To avoid any late penalties or further delay in coverage, it’s best to sign up for Medicare during your Initial 7-month Enrollment Period starting three months before you turn 65, and ending three months after the month you turn 65.
*People 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant) are eligible to enroll in Medicare. Medicare enrollment periods vary for those with disabilities or ESRD, see Medicare.gov for details.