When To Apply For Medicare

When you become close to being eligible for Medicare, there are many decisions to consider.

On your 65th birthday, you become eligible for Medicare although you can’t apply anytime during this year because there is a specific window of opportunity.

Missing this period could result in penalties that could follow you for the rest of your life.

Whether you are approaching the age of 65 yourself or a loved one, continue reading to learn about crucial enrollment periods for Medicare coverage.

Part A: Hospital Insurance 

Enrollment Period: 7 Months

In most cases, your enrollment period is 3 months before your 65th birthday month, during your birthday month, and 3 months after your birthday month.

If You Miss This Period:

There are no penalties for not enrolling in Part A during the 7-month period. However, not enrolling during the 3 months prior to your birthday month will mean that your coverage will be delayed and not start during your birthday month. Part A coverage is not retroactive.

Part B: Medical Insurance

Enrollment Period: 7 Months

In most cases, your enrollment period is 3 months before your 65th birthday month, during your birthday month, and 3 months after your birthday month.

If You Miss This Period:

Missing this enrollment period may mean higher premiums. If you don’s sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment for as long as you have Medicare. 

Part C: Medicare Advantage

Enrollment Period: 7-Months

In most cases, your enrollment period is 3 months before your 65th birthday month, during your birthday month, and 3 months after your birthday month.

If You Miss This Period:

Missing this enrollment period means waiting until the next annual enrollment period. The annual enrollment dates are October 15 through December 7. Medicare beneficiaries may return to traditional Medicare between January 1 and February 14 of each year. Exact dates may change from year-to-year.

Part D: Prescription Drug Costs

Enrollment Period: 7-Months

In most cases, your enrollment period is 3 months before your 65th birthday month, during your birthday month, and 3 months after your birthday month.

If You Miss This Period:

Missing this enrollment period may mean having to wait until the next annual enrollment period to add the prescription drug coverage. You may also have to pay higher premiums for as long as you have Medicare because you did not sign up when you first became eligible. The annual enrollment period is October 15 through December 7. Exact dates may change from year-to-year. Coverage from the annual enrollment periods is effective on January 1 of the following year.

It’s extremely important to apply for Medicare during enrollment periods although there are plenty of agencies that can assist you with any questions you may have. Below are just a few organizations who can help.

Medicare

(24 hours, 7 days)

1.800.MEDICARE  1.800.633.4227  TTY/TDD 1.877.486.2048

www.medicare.gov

U.S. Social Security Administration

1.800.772.1213  TTY/TDD 1.800.325.0778

www.ssa.gov

U.S. Administration on Aging

1.800.677.1116

www.eldercare.gov

Area Agency on Aging

8000 North Stadium

Houston, TX 77054

832.393.4301  1.800.213.8471

 

Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 10 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans and creating easy to understand community resources on his site HoustonCaseManagers.com. To become a more saucy social worker, hop on his free email list and receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.