How and When to Apply for Medicare
Planning for Medicare is an essential step for individuals who are approaching the age of 65 or have a disability that requires healthcare.
The initial enrollment period (IEP) for Medicare begins three months before an individual's 65th birthday and ends three months after their birthday month. This is the time when individuals can enroll in Medicare for the first time and choose which Medicare coverage options they want to enroll in. During this period, individuals can sign up for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), as well as Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and prescription drug coverage (Part D). It is important to note that if an individual does not enroll in Medicare during their initial enrollment period, they may face penalties and higher monthly premiums if they choose to enroll at a later date. If you are still working and have employer provided creditble coverage, you don't have to enroll in Part A or B. You may choose to enroll in them at a later date, when you lose your employer sponsored plan. This will waive any late penalties for Part B & D. We recommend if you are still working, enrolling in just Part A, as it doesn't have a monthly premium (as long as you worked for 10 years paying taxes) and will coordinate benefits with your employer plan, giving you more coverage for hospital stays.
If you don't enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period (IEP) and you're not covered by an employer credible plan, you may enroll during the general enrollment period for Medicare, which runs from January 1st to March 31st each year. During this time, individuals who did not enroll in Medicare during their initial enrollment period can enroll in Part A and/or Part B. Late enrollment penalties may apply.
Special enrollment periods for Medicare are available to individuals who experience certain life events, such as moving to a new area or losing other health coverage. During these periods, individuals can enroll in or change their Medicare coverage options outside of the initial enrollment period or open enrollment period.
Additionally, individuals should review their plan annually during the open enrollment period, which is from October 15 to December 7 and make changes if necessary. Planning for Medicare can help individuals save money and ensure they receive the healthcare services they need.
Enrollment in Medicare can be done three ways:
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