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Medicare Enrollment Due Dates You Don't Want to Miss in 2019

January 28, 2019

You become eligible for Medicare once you reach age 65, but enrolling begins far before you reach this milestone—don’t forget to plan ahead.

*Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written in 2016 but has been updated as of January 28th 2019 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Are you nearing age 65? You become eligible for Medicare once you reach this age, and if you neglect to sign up for it during this period (called the ‘initial enrollment period’) you might be charged higher premiums for the remainder of your life.

Medicare: What you need to know.

Here’s a little more about each part of Medicare:

Medicare parts A and B- If you are a retiree receiving social security benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare parts A (hospital coverage) and B. Coverage commences once you reach 65. The initial enrollment period begins during the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

What if I miss the initial enrollment?

If you miss the initial enrollment period, you’re able to sign up between January 1st and March 31st each year for coverage that begins on the first of July. The only catch here is, you might be charged a late enrollment penalty once your benefit starts. Monthly Part B premiums increase by 10 percent for each 12-month period you delay signing up for Medicare after becoming eligible for benefits. (You may have a chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period, once your initial enrollment period ends -- learn more about these special requirements at

What if I’m still working after I turn 65?

You may still need to sign up for Medicare even if you or your spouse is still working for a company that provides group health insurance. You may need to sign up in order to avoid Medicare’s late enrollment penalty, so it is best to understand how your current coverage works.

Medicare part D- The initial enrollment period for Medicare part D (prescription drug coverage) is the same as Medicare parts A and B, but the penalty for late enrollment differs. If you go 63 or more days without prescription drug coverage after becoming eligible for Medicare, the late enrollment penalty is assessed.

Medigap plans- Medigap, sometimes called Medicare supplement insurance, helps pay for some of the healthcare costs that Medicare doesn’t cover—i.e. copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. The initial enrollment period for this coverage is a six month period that begins when you are 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare part B. Be sure to choose what kind of Medigap coverage you’d like during the initial enrollment period, because it might not be possible to switch plans later.

Don’t be charged late enrollment penalties—make sure you’re aware of your responsibilities well before you reach age 65. Let us know if we can assist in your planning. Contact us today.

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