| Tue, Jun 24, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Avoid Late Medicare Enrollment Penalties

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare enrollmentWhen it comes to making Medicare choices, knowing when to enroll is just as important as the plans you choose.

It’s important to know each Medicare enrollment period deadline. Miss the Enrollment Period deadline and you may have to pay a penalty every month you have Medicare. For example, your Part B monthly premium may go up 10 percent for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. If you have retirement coverage or if you are still working and have an employer-sponsored health care plan, you may be able to wait to enroll in Part B without incurring penalties.

You may owe a Part D late enrollment penalty if, at any time after your Initial Enrollment Period is over, there’s a period of 63 or more days in a row when you don’t have Part D or other creditable prescription drug coverage.  The cost of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you went without creditable prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Open Enrollment is the main time period for changing your Medicare coverage or plan. It happens every year from October 15 through December 7. If you miss the enrollment deadline, you may have to wait until the following year to change your coverage, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Special Enrollment Periods allow you to make changes to your coverage outside of Medicare Open Enrollment under certain circumstances. For example, you have eight months to enroll in Original Medicare from the time your employment or insurance ends, whichever comes first. You have just two months from this date to join a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D). Penalties may apply if you miss an enrollment deadline.

Do your research and make wise Medicare choices. Contact Medicare.gov if you have questions about Medicare Parts A and B. You can also find out about the Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) offered where you live at Medicare.gov or directly from the insurance companies.

Many agents hold events at community locations where you can go and get your questions answered first-hand and in person. Watch for announcements in the mail, at your pharmacy or anywhere else that community events might be held in your neighborhood.

Key Medicare Enrollment Dates and Late Enrollment Penalties

Enrollment Event

Enrollment Period

Penalty For Late Enrollment

Initial Enrollment Period

Runs for seven months. It includes the three months before your 65th birthday month, your birthday month, and the three months after your birthday month. Part A: Pay a late-enrollment penalty every month you have Medicare.

Part B: If you don’t qualify for a deferment, you may have to pay 10 percent for each full 12-month period you could have been enrolled in Part B.

Part D: The penalty depends on how long you went without creditable prescription drug coverage.

Certain Special Enrollments

You have eight months to enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) from the time your employment or insurance ends, whichever comes first. You have two months from this date to join a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or Medicare Part D.

There may be enrollment penalties depending on circumstances.

General Enrollment Period

Every year from Jan. 1 – Mar. 31.

A penalty may apply.

Open Enrollment

Every year from Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.

Individuals may need to wait until the following year to make changes if they do not make changes during Open Enrollment.

Medigap Enrollment

A six month time period. It begins the first day of the month you are age 65 or older and are enrolled in Part B.

Individuals may pay a higher monthly rate or be turned down completely.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

When to Enroll in Medicare MedicareMadeClear.com

Clients Edging Toward 65 Need Guidance On Financial Impact Of Medicare: FA Financial Advisor (fa-mag.com)

Understanding Your Health Care Needs: MedicareMadeClear.com

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