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Medicare Enrollment Due Dates You Do Not Want to Miss in 2021

December 28, 2020

You become eligible for Medicare once you reach age 65, but enrolling begins far before you reach this milestone—don’t forget to plan ahead.

Are you nearing age 65? You become eligible for Medicare once you reach this age, and if you neglect to sign up for it during this period (called the ‘initial enrollment period’) you might be charged higher premiums for the remainder of your life.

Medicare: What you need to know.

The initial enrollment period begins during the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Here’s a little more about each part of Medicare:

Medicare parts A and B- If you are a retiree receiving social security benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare parts A (hospital coverage) and B. Coverage commences once you reach 65. Ten months before your 65th birthday, you can sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, but make sure you are all signed up three months before you turn 65, because enrollment cuts off at that time.

What if I miss the initial enrollment?

If you miss the initial enrollment period, you’re able to sign up between January 1stand March 31st each year for coverage that begins on the first of July. The only catch here is, you might be charged a late enrollment penalty once your benefit starts. Monthly Part B premiums increase by 10 percent for each 12-month period you delay signing up for Medicare after becoming eligible for benefits.

What if I’m still working after I turn 65?

If an employer has 20 or more employees, you do not need to enroll. A common misbelief is one has to sign up for Part A. Wrong. You should not sign up for Part B if you do not have to do so. Also, if you have an HSA and want to continue to contribute, you cannot be enrolled in Medicare A or B. If the company has less than 20 employees, you may be required to enroll in A and B.

Medicare part D- The initial enrollment period for Medicare part D (prescription drug coverage) is the same as Medicare parts A and B, but the penalty for late enrollment differs. If you go 63 or more days without prescription drug coverage after becoming eligible for Medicare, the late enrollment penalty is assessed.

Medigap plans- Medigap, sometimes called Medicare supplement insurance, helps pay for some of the healthcare costs that Medicare doesn’t cover—i.e. copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. The initial enrollment period for this coverage is a six month period that begins after enrolling in Part B. In this case, turning 65 is not the key determinant. Be sure to choose what kind of Medigap coverage you’d like during the initial enrollment period, because it might not be possible to switch plans later.

Don’t be charged late enrollment penalties—make sure you’re aware of your responsibilities well before you reach age 65. Let us know if we can assist in your planning. Contact us today.

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