Medicare A and B enrollment rules
Medicare A and B enrollment rules can be confusing. This blog will offer details on the process. There is often confusion between the Medicare A and B enrollment rules vs. Medicare Advantage and PDP plans. While there are a number of similarities, the two are not the same. We will be reviewing the A and B rules below.
Auto enrollment when turning 65
Most people are eligible for Medicare A and B when they turn 65. Both A and B will start the first of the month someone turns 65. For example, someone with a birth day of June 25th will be eligible to start Medicare on June 1. The only exception to this rule is for someone that has a birthday on the first of the month. In that case, The person will start their Medicare A and B benefits the first of the previous month. Example: Birthday is June 1, Medicare will start on May 1st.
If you are taking Social Security benefits (people are eligible at age 62) when you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare A and B. Those not receiving SS benefits will need to manually enroll in A and B. The enrollment period for Medicare A and B when turning 65 is the Initial Enrollment Period. This lasts for 7 months. 3 months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday and 3 months after turning 65.
Medicare A and B enrollment rules: When coverage starts:
For those that need to manually enroll, the coverage start date depends on when you apply. LOOK AT ENROLLMENT GRID
- 3 months before birthday month: Benefits start first of birthday month
- Apply the month you turn 65, coverage starts the first of the next month
- Apply 1 month after turning 65, coverage will start 2 months after you apply
- Those applying 2 or 3 months after turning 65, benefits will start 3 months after signing up
Medicare A and B enrollment rules: General Election Period
If you miss your initial election period, you can sign up through the general election period. You can apply through the GEP from January 1 through March 31 every year. Medicare A and benefits will not begin until July 1 however.
Special Election Period:
There are specific situations that will allow people to apply for Medicare and get it quicker than through the GEP. The most common one is for those that are working past the age of 65. Those working and getting coverage through work, will have an SEP for Medicare A and B when they retire OR lose work coverage. The SEP lasts for 8 months and starts when you or a spouse lose coverage or stop working.
Important: You are only able to waive Medicare Part B if you are actively working and getting coverage through work or if you are getting coverage through a working spouse. Both requirements must be met in order to waive Medicare part B. If the actively working person, stops working, the SEP will start even if you still have coverage. If you miss the 8 month SEP, you will need to sign up for Medicare using the GEP and will likely have a late enrollment penalty for part B when you get it in July. COBRA benefits are not a valid reason to waive Medicare Part B. Remember, you must be both working (or coverage through working spouse) AND have coverage.
NOTE: You cannot use the a Medicare Part B SEP while someone is still in their Medicare IEP. In other words, if they are still in the 7 month IEP for turning 65, an SEP for delayed part B enrollment will not be accepted.
Medicare A and B enrollment rules: How to sign up for delayed part B
Why am I paying so much for Medicare part B?
You must likely are paying an IRMAA penalty. CLICK TO LEARN ABOUT IRMAA