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A Guide to Medicare Enrollment

A Guide to Medicare Enrollment

As individuals turn 65 one of the primary decisions they will need to make involves medical insurance, and whether they will need to enroll in Medicare.  This decision is critical as a mistake can have a significant impact on the cost of your care in the future.  Therefore we have put together a communication in order to educate individuals on the topic.

Will I automatically Be Enrolled?

It depends.  If you have been receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits for at least 4 months then you will automatically be enrolled.   If you have not then you will need to enroll yourself in order to avoid potential penalties.

When Can I Enroll?

You have a period of time around your 65th birthday that you are eligible to enroll.   You will be eligible to enroll up to 3 months before turning 65, the month you turn 65 and 3 months following.   As an example, if your birthday is May 1st then you would be eligible to enroll beginning February the year you turn 65 through August of that year.  If you do not enroll during this period of time then you will be eligible to enroll during open enrollment periods in the future.

Do I Have to Enroll?

If you are currently working and your employer offers health coverage to individuals beyond age 65 then you may not have to enroll.  It is important to check with your employer and the HR department in order to coordinate benefits of whether you are required to transition to Medicare at age 65.

Many folks will enroll in Medicare Part A at 65 even if they are still covered by their employer.  The reason for this is Medicare Part A does not have a Premium associated with it.  Individuals with access to employer sponsored medical coverage may delay signing up for Medicare Part B as there is a premium associated with this coverage.

Is There a Penalty If I Do Not Enroll

Potentially, and that is why it is so critical to make an informed decision.  If you enroll in Medicare during your initial Enrollment Period then you will avoid any penalties.  If you miss that deadline and are not covered by a group health insurance plan through work then you will be subject to penalties in the future.  If your employer has fewer than 20 employees then you may still be subject to penalties unless you sing up for Medicare so it is recommended that you sign up!

Once you separate from your large employer insurance plan then you have an 8 month window to enroll.   If you miss that 8 month window then you will be subject to penalties.

What Are the Penalties

The penalty consists of a 10% surcharge over the standard Part B premium for each 12 month period that you should have been enrolled but did not.  Unfortunately this penalty will be enforced your entire life.