Medicare Enrollment Deadlines: What To Know

You can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B three months before and up to three months after your 65th birthday. Coverage cannot begin before the month you turn 65.

Part A is hospital insurance that covers inpatient hospital treatment, hospice care, skilled nursing facility care, and in-home health care.

Part B is medical insurance that helps cover home health care, outpatient treatment, and durable medical equipment (such as walkers, hospital beds, wheelchairs, and other equipment). It also covers numerous preventative services (like vaccines and screenings).
Even if you do not believe you will use Medicare, it is critical to understand the program, what it provides, and how to apply.

Medicare Part D Deadlines

The first enrollment period for Medicare Part D prescription medication coverage is the same as for Medicare Part A. This is three months to and three months following your 65th birth month.

If you go 63 days or more without prescription drug coverage after becoming eligible for Medicare, you may have to pay the penalty when you enroll later. This coverage can come from Medicare Part D or other sources like your employer’s plan or veterans benefits.

How Do I Become a First-Time Medicare Beneficiary?

The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which runs from seven months before your 65th birthday, is when you may sign up for Medicare:

  • Three months before your 65th birthday
  • Your 65th birthday month
  • Three months following the month you turn 65

You become enrolled in Parts A and B automatically if you continue to receive Social Security payments at least four months prior to turning 65. Social Security will mail you a Medicare card and Medicare information prior to the day you turn 65.

If you are still employed and have group health insurance through your spouse’s company or your workplace, you might be able to enroll in Part A and Part B Medicare at a later date without paying the penalty.

Once you’ve applied for Original Medicare and have parts A and B, you can choose a Part C, Medicare Advantage, or Part D Prescription Drug Plan from a commercial insurer at your IEP.

Is It Necessary To Re-Enroll in Medicare Every Year?

If you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or original Medicare (Parts A and B), your coverage will automatically renew annually.

Open Enrollment

Every year, the open enrollment for Medicare runs from October 15 to December 7. Current Medicare members can adjust their Medicare Advantage plans throughout this time. You can also reassess your Part D plan coverage for prescription drugs during this period and select another choice. You can go from Medicare Advantage to basic Medicare (and perhaps a Medigap plan). Changes made throughout this time will go into effect on January 1st of the following year.

If you wish to make changes to your plans, the open enrollment period is the time to do so.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Deadline

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, often known as Medigap policies, can apply in paying for some of the requirements of Medicare. It also covers some treatments that standard Medicare does not always cover.

The enrollment period for Medigap differs from the rest of Medicare. It is a six-month term that begins when you turn 65 and after you have enrolled in Medicare. Regardless of your health circumstances, private health insurance firms are required by law to pitch a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan to you during this open enrollment period. This is usually the preferred insurance option for persons with chronic diseases and/or those who anticipate considerably higher healthcare demands.

Although Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance after the enrollment period, insurance companies may use medical underwriting to determine the cost of the policy. Moreover, they may refuse to cover specific individuals.

When Is the Special Enrollment Period for Medicare?

Due to specific life situations, the SEP allows you to apply for, add, remove, or adjust your Medicare coverage outside regular enrollment periods. Suppose you did not apply for Original Medicare during the IEP due to facts like not yet being retired or you were still covered by your spouse’s employer or your employment. In that case, the SEP permits you to enroll in Original Medicare without penalty.

The SEP also permits you to change your Medicare plan for various reasons. For instance, if you move out of the coverage region of your plan or when you begin to qualify for Extra Help.

Have you Missed a Deadline? Don’t Worry

If you miss a deadline, you might be forced to change your plan or wait up to twelve months to apply for coverage. However, you do not need to panic.

Instead, consider speaking to someone with Medicare knowledge, such as an independent insurance agent.

They can assist you with obtaining or maintaining coverage and making modifications. Although you may have to deal with increased rates or penalty fines, the investment may be worthwhile. However, the best course of action is to mark these important dates on your calendar as soon as possible and plan ahead.

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