Medicare Minutes: Enrolling in Medicare

When it comes to enrolling in Medicare for the first time, timing is important? In this episode, we discuss the best times to enroll, which can vary from individual to individual.

Enrolling in Medicare at the right time for you

The best time to sign up for Medicare will depend on your unique health needs and situation. Watch our video or read on for help devising your own enrollment strategy.

Should I sign up for Medicare during my Initial Enrollment Period?

Most people become eligible to enroll for Medicare when they turn 65, during their 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, which actually begins three months prior to the month of this milestone birthday.

For example, if your 65th birthday falls on July 13th, your IEP would begin on April 1st.

Unless you are still covered by your or your spouse’s employer-provided health plan at this time, it is likely in your best interests to enroll during your IEP. If you delay your enrollment without having creditable coverage in the meantime, you will face permanent penalties on your monthly premiums for Medicare Parts B & D when you do enroll later. Not sure when your IEP starts? Use our Initial Enrollment Period finder tool!

Should I sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period?

However, if you are still receiving qualifying coverage from an employer-provided health plan when you turn 65, whether from your own employment or that of your spouse, you may qualify to delay your enrollment in Medicare using a Special Enrollment Period.

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you will have 8 months to enroll for Medicare after your other coverage ends without being subject to any late enrollment penalties. If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, delaying your enrollment could save you a significant amount of money on premium costs.

Should I coordinate my employer-provided and Medicare benefits?

You do, of course, have the option to enroll for Medicare in addition to keeping your employer-provided coverage. Some people elect to do this in order to maximize their coverage by filling in common gaps, like dental care or vision coverage. If this sounds like an option you might be interested in pursuing, read the following article about coordinating employer-provided and Medicare benefits.

What if I miss my IEP & SEP?

If you miss your IEP and don’t qualify for an SEP, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period. This period takes place from January 1-March 31 every year. It’s important to remember that coverage obtained during this time won’t begin until July 1st of that year. Furthermore, you will still be responsible for any late penalties incurred due to delaying your enrollment without qualifying coverage.

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Not sure where to start?

Read our quick-start guide for help, including which questions you should be asking as you approach retirement.

Read our quick start guide