The Medicare initial enrollment period is a seven-month period that starts three months before the month you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and three months after the month you turn 65.
When to Sign Up for Medicare
If you’re collecting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you’ll automatically be signed up for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance, inpatient care, skilled nursing and hospice care and home health services) and Part B (medical insurance things like doctor visits, lab tests and x-rays). If you don’t receive Medicare automatically, first-time Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Part A and/or Part B during their 7-month initial enrollment period.
Medicare Open Enrollment
The Medicare Open Enrollment period is from October 15 until December 7th each year. During the annual enrollment period you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.
- Change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plan (and vice versa)
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage (and vice versa)
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
- Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan
- Drop your Medicare drug plan coverage completely
The Cost of Medicare
For most people, Medicare Part A comes with no cost if they or their spouse worked 10 years and paid Medicare taxes. People who did not work a minimum of 10 years may still obtain Medicare Part A coverage but may have to pay a monthly premium for the benefits. The amount is determined by Social Security.
If you or your spouse are still working when you turn 65 and have health insurance through your employer, you may be able to delay signing up for Part B without incurring a penalty. In many cases (though not all) the benefits you’re offered through work provides the similar coverage for outpatient medical care. Before you make a final decision, call your employer’s benefits department to see if that coverage is sufficient and for information on how it might work with Medicare Part D, separate Medicare plans that provide coverage for prescription drugs.
We know Medicare can be confusing, and that’s why we’re here to help! We are ready to answer all your questions and help you navigate the Medicare landscape and get the coverage you need, call us today!