With so many choices in life, enrolling in Medicare insurance can be both stressful and intimidating. The burden of trying to keep up with ever-changing coverage options and deadlines can be a lot to handle if you have never been through the process before. Below is a quick guide to help you understand the timeline for the different enrollment period scenarios.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period for Individuals 65 and Over
When you turn 65 you will have the option to enroll in Medicare if you don’t have health coverage from a spouse’s employer or your own active employment. Typically the Initial Enrollment Period lasts seven months, starting four months before your 65th birthday month and running until three months after. If you decide to forgo coverage it is important to remember that there will be a penalty tacked on to your future premiums if you ever choose to get Medicare later down the road. One exception to this is if you have a qualifying event that allows you to enroll for Medicare such as retirement.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period for Individuals under 65
Most people qualify for Medicare as soon as they reach the age of 65, however, there are times that a person might be eligible for benefits before that. One occurrence that may lead to receiving Medicare benefits early is if you are permanently disabled. In this instance, instead of your enrollment period is based on your birthday the government would use the month you receive your 25th disability payment as the marker for enrollment. Just like with the Initial Enrollment Period, you would have the opportunity to enroll during the four months prior to your 25th disability payment and three months after. If you do decide to skip the benefits, you will be eligible again for Medicare once you turn 65 and qualify for the Initial Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment Period for Medicare
If during your Initial Enrollment Period you decide to forgo Medicare benefits because you were still working or were receiving benefits through a spouse, you will still have the opportunity to enroll later. Medicare has a Special Enrollment Period that allows you to avoid late penalties and enroll in benefits up to eight months after departing from a company. It is important to note that if you work for a small company, they may ask you to sign up for Medicare at the age of 65.
What Happens if you Miss your Enrollment Deadline?
While you have the option of whether or not to enroll in Medicare, it is import to remember that there may be penalties for signing up after the fact. Without the help of a Special Enrollment Period, you will need to wait for the general enrollment period on January 1st before you can apply for benefits. Once you have your benefits, you will be tasked with paying late penalties equal to an extra 10 percent for each year that has passed since your Initial Enrollment period and when you sign up.
iHealthcare is Here to Help
For more information on enrolling in Medicare, contact us today at 713-900-1901 and one of our qualified agents will help you through the process.