A person may reach that certain point in their lives when they want to switch healthcare plans. That usually happens when you, yourself or someone you know reaches the momentous age of 65. You may want to switch plans, or maybe get a new one using Medicare. There are some things that may help in steering you to the direction of knowing or educating you when to apply for a Medicare plan, start of the coverage, and how to sign up.
There is a primary 7-month period of enrollment during the time you are first looking to apply for a Medicare plan. You may sign up for Part A and / or Part B plans.
This period would consist of the following:
- Prior to you turning 65 – 3 months
- Once you do turn 65 – 1 month
- After the month you turn 65 – 3 months
In the event that you are not automatically enrolled into coverage for Part A, and once you qualify you can actually sign up free of charge, all of which may be done during or even after the initial enrollment period. The start date of the coverage will depend on the date that you sign up.
You may only enroll throughout an enrollment period if you need to purchase Part A and / or Part B. Here is an important note to remember: you might have to pay for a late enrollment penalty charge if you decide to purchase Part B later than the time you were first eligible to enroll.
Part A and / or Part B General Enrollment
Here are some important dates to take note of when signing up for Part A and / or Part B. It is advised to sign up on the dates that run between January 01 until March 31 of each year.
You may sign up during these time frames if you fall under the following circumstances:
- You are not eligible for a SEP or Special Enrollment Period.
- You did not sign up when you were first eligible.
- Note | You may have to pay a higher premium for both plans if you enroll late. Coverage will begin July 1.
For Special Circumstances:
There is another possibility to sign up for Medicare as soon as the initial enrollment phase lapses. This is what is commonly called as SEP or Special Enrollment Period.
If you want to sign up for Part A and / or Part B and you are covered under an employer’s group health plan, you must meet the following prerequisites first:
- You are covered by a group health plan through an employer.
- You or your spouse remains employed.
- An 8 month Special Enrollment Period will take over the month after your payment and the employee group health coverage ends.
You will NOT be charged for any penalty if you are signing up under SEP.
When will the coverage start?
Your coverage will begin on the very first day of the month you will be turning 65, that is if you signed up for the Medicare coverage AND, at the same time, you signed up during the first three months on YOUR initial enrollment period.
If your birthdate falls on the first of the month, then your coverage will start on the first of the previous month.