When to Enroll in Medicare

When to Enroll in Medicare | Tips to Avoid Penalties

Today’s video goes over when you should enroll in Medicare. Medicare enrollment windows can be tricky, and figuring out when to enroll in Medicare can depend on your specific situation. 

Your Initial Enrollment Period, also known as your IEP is a 7 month period for when you first turn 65. It starts 3 months before your birth month, includes your 65th birth month, and goes 3 months after your birth month. If you enroll in Medicare in the first 3 months of your IEP, your medicare coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65.

If you enroll in medicare in the latter part of your IEP your Part B coverage could be delayed up to 3 months from the time you sign up. Part A coverage will always start on the first day of your birth month, so if you sign up in the 3 months after your birth month the Part A coverage will retroactively start on the first day of your birth month. 

You can enroll in Medicare in a few different ways. If you are already receiving Social Security Benefits, you will be automatically enrolled and receive your Red, White, and Blue Card prior to your birth month. If you are not receiving Social Security Benefits you can enroll online at www.ssa.gov/medicare, you can call Social Security, or if your local Social Security office is open then you can go in person. 

There is a common misconception that everyone has to enroll when you first turn 65 during your IEP or you would face a penalty. That’s not always true, you can delay Part B if you have creditable coverage.

You can delay Part b if you are actively employed with health insurance through your employer or your spouse is actively employed and you’re covered under their employer. 

You don’t want to delay Part B if your employer has less than 20 employees. At this point your Medicare coverage will become your primary insurance and your employer would become secondary. You also don’t want to delay Part B if you are covered with Cobra/Retiree benefits, as you have to be actively employed in order to delay Part B. 

If you delay Part B, whenever you are ready to get enrolled in Part B you would get what is called a Special Enrollment Period, also called a SEP. During your SEP, you can enroll in Medicare anytime you are actively employed and up to 8 months after you leave active employment or employer coverage ends. Once you enroll your coverage will begin the first day of the following month. However, you cannot use a SEP during your IEP.

If you are working at the age of 65 and are actively contributing to a Health Savings Account, HSA, you don’t want to enroll in Medicare. If you enroll in Part A and/or Part B or even enroll in Social Security Benefits you can incur tax penalties if you contribute to an HSA.

Deciding when to enroll in Medicare can sometimes be confusing. We help folks every day navigate their Medicare enrollment, decide when to enroll in Medicare, and walk them through how to do so. We also help outline the best Medicare Plan options for their needs. Reach out to us with your questions, our licensed agents are here to help you (888) 465-9728.

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