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It Only Comes Around Once: Enrolling in Medicare for the First Time

April 27, 2017

When it’s time for you to enroll in Medicare for the first time, you’ll probably have at least a few questions.

One of the most common questions is how to enroll.

Consider the benefits of enrolling through an independent, third-party provider.

Here’s why:

  • The advice they offer is free.
  • They aren’t biased but rather focused on getting you the plan that best suits your needs.
  • They’re knowledgeable. They know what they’re doing and they know how to explain it to you in language you will understand.

When should you enroll?

Some circumstances result in people being enrolled automatically.

These include:

  • When you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits.
  • When you’re receiving disability benefits.

Special instructions for Medicare Part B

If you have been automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B and don’t want it, you can drop this coverage.

If you were enrolled through Social Security you will need to contact them in order to drop it. It can also be delayed if you are covered via your or your spouse’s employer.

Get in touch with the health benefits administrator to discuss the procedure and any possible consequences.

If you decide to sign up after your eligibility date, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty.

There is a possibility that your premium could be as much as 10% higher for each 12-month period that you were eligible and declined. The penalty may last for the entire duration that you are covered under Medicare.

Keep in mind that delaying enrollment will not cause you to be charged a late enrollment penalty.

Initial enrollment period

Those who aren’t automatically enrolled in Medicare will have to be manually enrolled. This happens during the Initial Enrollment Period, or IEP. This period is seven months long and begins three months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, and extends three months after.

These are the circumstances in which you would enroll during the IEP:

  • When you haven’t been receiving benefits but you’re close to turning 65.  
  • When you don’t qualify for retirement benefits.  

General enrollment period

This period is open each year from October 15 through December 7. Remember that signing up during this period may cause you to incur a late penalty if you didn’t sign up during your IEP.

Special enrollment period

This is an eight month period beginning when your prior group coverage ends. You will not be subject to a late penalty for enrolling during this period.

Advantage plan enrollment

Also referred to as Medicare Part C, this is offered through a private insurer and you must have Medicare Parts A and B. Some plans offer prescription coverage through the Advantage plan.

Prescription drug coverage

This is an optional service that you will not be automatically enrolled in. You can sign up through a stand-alone prescription plan or get coverage through an Advantage plan that offers it.

Supplement plans

Medicare Supplement Plans are also called “Medigap.” They are optional and can help fill in the gaps in Medicare coverage. These plans are offered through private insurance carriers.

There’s a lot to know when enrolling in Medicare for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

InsureOne Benefits is happy to assist you with enrolling in Medicare for the first time. Call today for information about how we can help!

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