If you’re over 65, you can still enroll in Medicare after your Initial Enrollment Period, which is when you first become eligible. You may or may not have to pay late enrollment penalties, but that will ultimately depend on when you enroll and if you qualify for a certain enrollment period.
For example, you can delay your Medicare enrollment until your employment ends or the group health plan stops. This would qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment Period
If you’re over 65, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period under certain conditions to help you enroll in Original Medicare. If you or your spouse have a group health plan, you may be able to delay your Medicare enrollment, especially if your company has over 20 employees. You can delay your Part B enrollment for as long as you have employee insurance through your company or your spouse’s joint coverage.
After your group health plan ends or when you stop working, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enable you to sign up for Part B without a late enrollment penalty. This Special Enrollment Period lasts for 8 months and your coverage will begin the first day of the month after your enrollment. Also, if you are an active-duty service member, you may sign up for Part B even when over 65 without paying the late enrollment penalty. However, to keep your TRICARE coverage after you retire, you must enroll in Medicare Part B before your retirement.
Other circumstances that could qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period include:
- You change where you live and move out of your plan’s service area
- You lose your current coverage
- You have the option to get other coverage
- Your plan changes its contract with Medicare
General Enrollment Period
If you’re past 65 and you have missed your Initial Enrollment Period and do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can still enroll in Original Medicare during the General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period starts on January 1 and ends on March 31 each year.
However, if you enroll during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage will not begin until July 1 of the same year you enrolled. If you’re over 65 and you need prescription drug coverage, you can sign up for a Part D plan in April, May, or June. Your coverage will kick in on July 1. By taking advantage of this period, you may be subjected to a late enrollment penalty that will be added to your premiums and could be permanent.
Contact Generations Insurance
For more information and help with understanding the different enrollment periods of Medicare, contact Generations Insurance today. The options one faces when looking into the enrollment periods and plans can be quite overwhelming. That’s why it is always a good idea to seek professional advice.