The medicare enrollment period can be confusing because there are multiple opportunities that provide the chance to apply. The Initial Enrollment Period is a 7-month period that starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65 (via The Balance). If you join during the 3 months before you turn 65, then coverage begins the first day of your birth month (via AARP). If you enroll during or after the month you turn 65, coverage will begin the first day of the month after you ask to join the plan. During this time, most individuals will be automatically enrolled in premium-free Medicare Part A, with the exception of anyone still working and not receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits.
You can enroll anytime in Medicare Part A or Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period and coverage will extend retroactively 6 months from when you sign up, but no earlier than the first month you’re eligible for Medicare (via Medicare.gov).
If you wait to enroll until after you turn 65, it could cause delays in your Part B coverage.
If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, do not fret! Open Enrollment 2021 will provide the opportunity to sign up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B from October 15 – December 7. Medicare open enrollment is the annual period from October 15 to December 7 when people who have Medicare can change their health insurance plan. Specifically, you can apply for or make changes to your Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. All plan changes go into effect on January 1 (not right when you make changes) and last for the year (via Policygenius.com). This period allows you to:
- Switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan
- Switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another
To avoid paying the extra enrollment fees, you might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if:
- You or your spouse (or family member if you’re disabled) is working.
- You’re covered by a group health plan through the employer or union based on that work.
You have 8 months to sign up for Part A and/or Part B starting:
- The month after the employment ends
- The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends
January 1 to March 31 is also the Annual Election Period for Medicare Advantage, which provides similar coverage as Original Medicare with added benefits like Dental, Vision, Hospice, and general wellness (via Kaiser Permanente). See our blog post or call Hubby Health to learn more about the different Medicare products and how you can save on your health costs.
To find out whether you are eligible for Medicare products, read our article on eligibility or call Hubby Health to learn more.
Resources to Learn More:
Medicare Phone Number 1-800-633-4227
Hubby Heath 8-333-MEDSUP