Planning ahead is important because timing is critical when you join Medicare. If you delay signing up during your IEP, you may pay more and you’ll have fewer choices.
Medicare Part A Initial Enrollment
You can first enroll when you reach 64 years and 9 months old. Enrollment is automatic if you are already receiving Social Security benefits. To enroll, simply call or visit your local Social Security office.
There are no penalties for signing up to receive Medicare Part A late unless you are required to pay a premium. You are required to pay a premium if you did not work long enough to pay the minimum required taxes to Social Security.
Medicare Parts B, C & D Initial Enrollment
You have a 7-month window to enroll in Medicare Parts B, C and D. The window starts 3 calendar months prior to your 65th birthday and ends three calendar months after your birth month. If you miss your enrollment period, your premiums will be higher, so it’s important not to delay. There are exceptions if you are still working and have employer health care. Consult with your local Medicare office to be certain your circumstance is covered.
If you miss the enrollment window for Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, you must wait until the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th through December 7th) to enroll. If you delay enrollment until after your IEP, your premiums may be higher.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance Enrollment
Medicare Supplemental Insurance is a guaranteed right during the 6 months after turn 65 and older and enroll in Part B (your Open Enrollment Period). You cannot be turned down for this insurance, even if you have pre-existing medical conditions. As a general rule, the six month window starts when you first qualify for/enroll in Medicare Part B.
If you don’t enroll during your Open Enrollment Period, you can apply later. However, you may be required to pay more and, if you do have a pre-existing health condition, or a health history that makes you a higher risk, you can be rejected.