Senior residents of the U.S. are well acquainted with the fact that they become eligible for Medicare during the months around their 65th birthday. Medicare’s initial enrollment period is the seven-month period that begins three-month before you turn 65 years of age, include your birthday month, and three months after your birthday. If you fail to sign up for Medicare during this initial enrollment period, you could pay higher premiums for the rest of your life.
Know About Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period is the seven-month period that starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and extends three months after your birthday.
- If you continue with your job even after 65 and decide to quit it later, then you will need to sign up for Medicare within eight months of leaving the job or your group health plan to avoid late enrollment penalties.
- The enrollment period for Medicare Supplement plans is the six-month period that begins when you attain the age of 65 years and you get enrolled in Medicare Part B.
- If you wish to make changes in your Medicare coverage, then you can make changes during the annual Medicare open enrollment period which runs from October 15 to December 7.
- If you are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, then can switch plans from January 1 to March 31, every year.
Medicare Enrollment Period and Penalties Charged for Late Enrollment
Medicare Parts A and B Deadline
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, then you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, and your coverage will begin from the month you turn 65. However, if you have not claimed your Social Security benefits, then you will require to sign-up for Medicare. You can sign up for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) during your initial enrollment period, which is the seven-month period. Your coverage will start on the first day of the month in which you turn 65, or the first day of the prior month if your birthday falls on the first of the month.
If due to any reason you could not enroll in Medicare during the initial enrollment period, then you can sign up for Medicare during the general enrollment period, which starts from Jan. 1 and ends on March 31 each year. The coverage of which will begin from July 1. However, at the start of your benefits, you could be charged a late enrollment penalty. If you delay signing up for Medicare after becoming eligible for it, then your Medicare Part B monthly premium will increase by 10% for each 12-month period. The penalty for late enrollment is imposed just to provide a financial incentive to people who immediately enroll after becoming eligible for Medicare compared to people who wait to enroll until they experience some kind of health problems.
It is possible that you or your spouse continue to work after 65 years of age, and your employer provides you, group, health insurance, then you need to sign up for Medicare within eight months of leaving the job or after the end of your employer-coverage to avoid the penalty. You are free to sign-up for Medicare any time if you have turn 65 and are actively working. After retirement, you will get eight months to sign up for Medicare Part B without requiring to pay a premium penalty. You need to be aware that retiree health insurance and COBRA coverage are not considered health insurance through which you can avoid the late enrollment penalty of Medicare.
Medicare Part D Deadline & Penalty
Medicare Part D plan has the same initial enrollment period of the seven months just like Medicare Part A and Part B that starts around your 65th birthday. However, you need to understand that penalty for Medicare Part D is different. If you are without credible Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage for 63 or more days after becoming eligible for Medicare, then you will be liable for the late enrollment penalty. The Medicare Part D penalty is calculated by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” with the number of months you didn’t have Part D coverage after you became eligible for Medicare. This amount is rounded off to the nearest 10 cents. For the year 2020, the national base beneficiary premium is $32.74. The calculated penalty amount is then added to your Medicare Part D plan premium, which is selected by you.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Deadline
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are generally used to pay some of the Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements and some medical services that are usually not covered under the traditional Medicare. The enrollment period for Medicare Supplement Insurance plans is different from other Medicare plans. Medicare Supplement Insurance plans enrollment period is a six-month period that starts when you are 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. Government allows private health insurance companies to sell Medicare Supplement Insurance plans to you during this open enrollment period regardless of your health conditions. This is the time when you can get a Medigap plan without substantial underwriting.
Penalty for Applying Late for Medicare Supplement Plans
If you miss the Medicare Supplement plans enrollment period, then health insurance companies are allowed to use medical underwriting, which they use to decide the price of the plan and they can even reject applicants whom they don’t want to cover. Thus, no longer you are guaranteed to buy a supplement plan without underwriting, or you can even be charged significantly more if you have any health condition. You should also be aware that you are not allowed to switch to a new Supplement plan, later on, so you carefully choose a Supplement plan during the open enrollment period.
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period
The Medicare annual open enrollment is from October 15 to December 7 during which you can make changes to your Medicare coverage. You can either switch to a new Medicare Part D plan, enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, or drop a Medicare Advantage plan, or go back to the Original Medicare plan. Whatever changes you will make in your Medicare plan during this period, it will become effective from January 1 of the following year.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
Medicare Advantage plan open enrollment period is from January 1 to March 31 each year during which you can either switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, or you can drop your Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, or you can even purchase a Medicare Part D plan. However, you need to know that you are allowed to make only one change in your Medicare plan per year during this period. Your new plan will become effective on the first of the month after your change request is received.