Timing is Everything
To make sure you take advantage of all that Medicare has to offer and you do not pay any financial penalties you must know the Medicare deadlines. Thus. “Timing is everything”.
Listed below are time frames you need to know to make you sure you understand.
Six Months before Turning 65
The time before you turn 65 is a time to begin to prep for the decisions you need to make. Undoubtedly you will have begun to receive information about Medicare in the mail as well as solicitations for various Medicare related products. During this time you should learn the Medicare dates and what you need to do to comply. You should also determine if you need to enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65. You may not need to enroll if you are insured by a group health insurance plan.
Enrolling in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B
When you first become eligible for Medicare you have a 7 month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Part B (Medical Insurance). This period begins 3 months before you turn age 65, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. To sign up for Medicare go to www.medicare.gov
Enrolling in Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug)
Individuals on Medicare are eligible for prescription drug coverage under Part D if they are signed up for benefits under Medicare Part A and Part B. You have a 7 month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. If you do not enroll in a Part D plan when you first become eligible you may pay a late enrollment penalty, basically a premium surtax. The penalty is equal to 1% of the national premium index times the number of full calendar months they were eligible for but not enrolled in Part D and did not have creditable coverage through another source.
Enrolling in Medicare Part C
Medicare Part C is not a separate benefit. Part C is the part of Medicare policy that allows private health insurance companies to provide Medicare benefits. These Medicare private health plans, such as HMOs and PPOs, are known as Medicare Advantage plans. You may sign up for Part C during the Initial Enrollment Period. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Enrolling in a Medicare Supplement.
Many individuals choose to enroll in a Medicare Supplement. This allows one to enhance their coverage and budget to a fixed cost. The period in which you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan begins the first day of the month in which you are 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. The period last 6 months. If you attempt to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan after the 6 month period you will have to qualify medically and may not be able to get a policy. If you enroll during the 6 month period the Medicare Supplement company must issue you a policy.