Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Most people first become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65*.
Your initial enrollment period for original Medicare is seven months long:
|Initial Medicare Enrollment Period
Starts 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.
*There are some exceptions, including if you become disabled before you turn 65.
You should enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period. If you put it off, you will be penalized (unless you have health insurance through your job or your spouse’s job.)
If you don’t enroll as soon as you’re first eligible — during your initial enrollment period or when your job-based coverage ends — the penalty you will pay increases your premiums for Part B and Part D for the rest of your life.
For each year you delay signing up for Part B, your monthly premium goes up by 10%. And, even missing the deadline by one month is considered one year! Not enrolling on time in Part D results in a 1% penalty for every month you delay.
If you are entitled to free Part A coverage, in most cases, you should enroll as soon as you’re eligible. The exception is if you are contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you are making HSA contributions, you should defer enrollment because once enrolled in Medicare, you may no longer contribute to an HSA.
If you don’t qualify for free Part A, it is best to defer enrollment until you have stopped working.
Medicare General Enrollment
If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B when you’re first eligible, you can enroll during an annual general enrollment period, but may pay a penalty as described above. Your coverage will begin the month after you sign up.
|Medicare General Enrollment
Every year from January 1 through March 31.
Medigap (Medicare Supplement) Open Enrollment
It is best to sign up for Medigap coverage as soon as you are first eligible to purchase it.
This is because during your open enrollment period, there is no medical underwriting — you can not be denied coverage for any medical conditions you may have.
|Open Enrollment for Medigap Coverage
Begins on the first day of the first month that 1) you are at least 65 years old AND 2) you are enrolled in Medicare Part B. Runs for 6 months.
You can apply for Medigap coverage after your initial eligibility period, but you will likely have to meet medical underwriting requirements and you may pay a higher premium.
Switching from one Medigap plan to another will also involve medical underwriting. So, choosing the right Medigap plan from the start is important because you are likely to have this coverage for the rest of your life. Therefore, we always recommend securing the best coverage you can afford.
Virginia Medical Plans has been helping seniors understand their options under Medicare for three decades. Let us help you choose a Medigap plan to meet your needs. Call us today at 703-707-8270.
Medicare Advantage Enrollment
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan when you first become eligible for Medicare or during Medicare open enrollment from October 15 through December 7 of each year.
Medicare Advantage Disenrollment
Each year, there is a time during which you can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare.
|Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period
You can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare every year between January 1 to March 31.
Questions? Give us a call at 703-707-8270.