What if You Miss Your Medicare Enrollment Deadline?
If you miss your Medicare Enrollment Deadline, you may have a long nervous time without proper coverage. If you miss your window of opportunity, you will have to wait for the next Medicare open enrollment period to enroll.
A hospital stay at the wrong time could mercilessly destroy your savings, ruin your credit or worse. You might not be told “no” when you need an important or even lifesaving medical procedure during a time when you are without coverage.
Since the General Enrollment Period for Medicare Part A and Part B is not the same as the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans, you might not be able to get the coverage you want for well over a year. You will probably also pay lifetime penalties for late Medicare Part B and Part D enrollment.
Is it Mandatory to Sign up for Medicare at Age 65?
You are not required to enroll in Medicare at any age, however, there are penalties for not signing up for Medicare at 65 unless you qualify for an exception. These penalties include increase premiums if you decide to sign up later. You could also be dealt a financial knock out blow if you have a long hospital stay during a time when you have no medical coverage.
What if You Just Turned 65 This Month or Last Month?
If your suggested Medicare Effective date just passed and you haven’t enrolled, you may have up to four other months to do so. This means you have the month you turned 65 plus another two or three months before your final Medicare deadline. (The extra four months will not apply if you delayed getting coverage because your employer covered you.) You may have a nervous period when you aren’t properly covered, but so long as you enroll during this time, you won’t pay a penalty or need to wait for the next enrollment period.
If you do not have Medicare Part A and B, you will need to enroll in these first before you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, Medicare Advantage Plan, or Prescription Drug Plan. For this reason, you should enroll in Medicare Part A and B as soon as possible even if you haven’t decided which CT Medigap and Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan to enroll in.
What If You Will Continue to Get Coverage from Your Job Past Age 65
If you missed your deadline because you continued to get “Creditable Coverage” from your employer, not much will happen. You can extend your deadline indefinitely if your job will continue to cover you. For more information please see: Should You Delay Enrolling in Medicare if You Have Group Coverage? But you must plan to have your new policy start when your group coverage ends, or you may face waiting periods, Medicare Deadlines and Medicare Penalties.
Most Common Medicare Enrollment Deadlines
If you are like most people and will not have coverage from work after age 65, you should enroll in Medicare during the first three months of your Initial Enrollment Period. Your IEP starts on the first of the month three calendar months before you turn 65. If your birthday is on the first of the month your IEP starts one month earlier.
For example, if your birthday is between January 2nd and February 1st, your window is the October, November and December just before your birthday. Your effective date will be January 1st.
However, if your birthday is the first of the January, your window starts and ends one month earlier. So, if you turn 65 on January 1st, your window is September, October and November. Your effective date will be December 1st of the previous year.
Medicare Enrollment Deadlines for Disabled Persons
If you are eligible for Medicare due to a disability, your Medicare Effective Date will probably be two years after the date Social Security officially determined that you were permanently disabled. If that date is too close to the date you will turn 65, the rules above will apply.
If you are disabled, you can view your Medicare Enrollment Deadlines on Mediare.gov or call me with your questions.
It is important that you apply for Medicare Part A and B in the beginning of your window. You will not be able to enroll in a Medicare Supplement, Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan until you are Approved for Part A and B. The approval process can take weeks, so take care to start the process at least a month before your window closes. Call me when you have questions about how to sign up for medicare at age 65 or at retirement.
Connecticut Medicare Enrollment Deadline vs. Other States
Although my license to help people with their insurance needs does not extend beyond the State of Connecticut, Medicare is a federal program and the deadline information listed above is valid for anyone who lives in the United States. So if you live in CT, Medicare is something I can help you with. I can show you the CT medicare Supplement rates, Medicare Advantage prices and answer questions about your coverage options.
If you want to enroll in Medicare at age 65, you can use this tool to see suggested effective date and enrollment window: calculate your Medicare Enrollment Deadline.