Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people aged 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). If you’re newly eligible for Medicare, congratulations! You’ve worked hard and earned this vital health insurance coverage. But now that you’re eligible, when do you need to enroll?
Some people choose to keep working after they turn 65 and delay enrolling in Medicare. That’s usually because an employer health plan still covers them. But you should know a few things about working and Medicare coverage. In this blog post, you’ll learn everything you need about your Medicare enrollment timeline. Keep reading to make an informed decision about your healthcare coverage!
Part A And Part B Enrollment
You’re first eligible to enroll in Medicare three months before your 65th birthday, known as your “initial enrollment period.” However, if you’re already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). If you’re not receiving these benefits, you’ll need to apply for them.
Part C (Medicare Advantage) Enrollment
If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do so during your initial enrollment period. You can also switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan during the open enrollment period (October 15-December 7). In addition, there’s a special Medicare Advantage open enrollment period from January 1-March 31. During this time, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or drop your Medicare Advantage coverage and return to Original Medicare.
Part D Enrollment
You can also enroll in a Medicare Part D plan during your initial enrollment period or during the open enrollment period. You can get a stand-alone Part D plan to supplement your Original Medicare coverage, or you can get a Part D plan that’s included with a Medicare Advantage plan.
What Parts Of Medicare Are Mandatory?
You’re not required to enroll in every part of Medicare. Part A is mandatory if you want to enroll in Part B, or if you want to keep your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. Parts B and D are both optional, although you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you delay signing up for coverage. The Part B late enrollment penalty can be as high as 10% of the national average Part B premium for every 12-month period that you delay enrolling in Part B. Lastly, enrolling in Part C is entirely optional.
What If I’m Still Working?
If you’re 65 (or older), you may decide to delay enrolling in Medicare for different reasons. Here are some situations in which you might choose to delay your enrollment and what you need to know about the consequences:
You or your spouse are still working, and you have health insurance from a job with 20 or more employees: In this case, you’re not required to enroll in Medicare and can keep your job-based health insurance. However, you may want to enroll in Part A so you can have hospital insurance coverage without paying a premium (if you qualify). Whenever you leave your job or your spouse’s job, you’ll have an eight-month period in which you can enroll in Part B without having to pay a late enrollment penalty.
You have health insurance from a job with fewer than 20 employees: Similarly, here you’re not required to enroll in Medicare. However, some employer-sponsored plans may not continue to cover you if you don’t enroll in Medicare when first eligible. Check with your benefits administrator to know the details of your coverage.
You have health insurance, but it’s not job-based: If you have health insurance through a source other than your job (for example, COBRA coverage or an individual health insurance plan), you should contact your insurer to see how your coverage will be affected if you enroll (or don’t enroll) in Medicare. The specific rules will depend on your insurer and your insurance type.
You’re self-employed, or you have job-based health insurance that’s not available for everyone in the company: Ask whether your health insurance is a “group health plan coverage.” The IRS is responsible for defining the types of group health plans required to coordinate with Medicare. Still, it’s recommendable to enroll in Part A and Part B when you’re first eligible to avoid any potential late enrollment penalties.
You’re still working, but you don’t have any health insurance: In this case, you should enroll in Part A and Part B as soon as possible to avoid any late enrollment penalties. You can also shop for a Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan if you want additional coverage.
Nesso Senior Benefits Can Answer All Your Medicare Questions
At Nesso Senior Benefits, we assist Connecticut residents in making the most of their health benefits by comparing coverage options and costs and helping them comprehend the enrollment periods. We’re experts in all facets of Medicare and can advise you on which plan best suits your requirements, spending limit, and objectives.
We’re part of the Nesso Group, and our strategy of comprehensive services and integrated solutions reduces stress and increases success. We offer direction for people and enterprises in various multidimensional fields of competence. You can be sure that we’re collaborating with your best interest in mind.