Several clients turning 65 have questions about when they should enroll in Medicare.
That’s a common concern for people nearing retirement age.
The Initial Enrollment Period
Let’s say your birthday is November 15, and you’re turning 65.
You have a seven-month window to enroll.
Your Initial Enrollment Period (or IEP) to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B is the three months prior to your birthday (August, September, October), the month of your birthday (November) and the three months following your birthday (December, January, February).
“Most people who are Medicare eligible should enroll for Medicare Part A during their IEP,” says Katy Votava, Ph.D., RN, and health care specialist.
“The sooner you enroll, the sooner your coverage starts,” she adds.
Tip: You can visit the Medicare site for a handy calculator that tells you when you’re eligible to sign up for Medicare, and estimates your premium.
There are a few exceptions for those who can sign up at a different time, such as those who are medically disabled before age 65, and those eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (or SEP) because they are currently covered under a group health plan of an employer.
But before you delay enrolling in Medicare, make sure you are truly covered by an exception, says Votava.
If people do not enroll on time and are not covered by an exception, she warns, “they will face lifelong penalties and a delay in being able to apply to get Medicare coverage.”
Tip: Votava, who is a nurse practitioner, health care economist, and president and founder of www.GoodCare.com, put together a helpful Medicare enrollment timeline that you can access by clicking here.