Enrolling into Medicare
You are eligible to enroll into Medicare in the three months prior to your birth month, your actual birth month and the three months following your birth month.
This is called your “Initial Election Period”. It is specifically connected to your turning age 65. (note - not connected to turning 67 or 72 (for example) and enrolling into Medicare)
If you elect to enroll in only Medicare Part A, for example, and remain on your employer’s group insurance, you may elect to enroll into Medicare’s Part B after leaving the employer plan. This is called a “Special Election Period”.
You will have an eight-month period of time to enroll into Medicare Part B after you no longer have coverage from current work (actively working coverage).
Using the Part B Special Election Period also means you will not have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty if you had credible coverage through your employer.
If you did not enroll in either the Initial Election Period or during a Special Election Period, you will need to enroll into Medicare during the General Election Period which runs annually from January 1 until March 31. Coverage for your Part B will be effective on July 1 in the year that you apply.
Note: when someone is in their IEP but also leaving employer insurance, the timing of the Part B start date can be tricky. Absolutely call our advisors to help you with timing issues.
When Can I First Enroll In Medicare?
As a US citizen or legal permanent resident, you are eligible for Medicare at age 65.
If you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you are also eligible for Medicare after a 24 month qualifying period.
If you have two specific diseases, ALS or ESRD, you will also be eligible for Medicare.
Should I Enroll in Medicare?
There is no concrete answer to this question (even though we wish that was the case).
Some people at age 65 should enroll in Medicare as their next phase of their health insurance plan.
Medicare coverage needs to be compared to the other options available to the consumer. This is where our advisors are key. They will walk you through the questions to help you determine IF enrolling into Medicare health insurance is the best move for you.
The answer to this question will also change based on changes in your health, your employment, your desire to choose doctors, etc.
We always, always recommend a discussion about Medicare enrollment to everyone in the months before turning 65.
How Do I Enroll in Medicare?
If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits, your red, white and blue Medicare card will arrive in the mail before your 65th birthday.
Upon receiving your card, call our advisors to discuss whether you should or should not be enrolling into Part B.
If you do not need Part B and you do not rescind the coverage in the proper manner, you will begin paying for health insurance coverage that you may not need nor want.
If you are NOT receiving Social Security benefits, and you’ve determined that you DO need to enroll into Medicare’s Parts A and/or Part B, you may go online to enroll or go into your local Social Security office to do so.
We recommend online enrollment when possible. See the link below.