Late Medicare enrollment
Medicare can be confusing; understanding the rules and guidelines for enrollment is important to ensure you have access to the healthcare coverage you need. Although many people are aware of the initial enrollment period, there are situations when individuals may apply for late Medicare enrollment. We will go over some reasons for late enrollment, the rules surrounding late enrollment, and how to apply for Medicare.
Reasons for Late Medicare Enrollment
Missing your IEP (Initial Enrollment Period) – If you neglected to sign up for Medicare during your IEP, which begins three months before your 65th birthday and extends to three months after, you may need to wait for the GEP to sign up.
Missed a SEP (Special Enrollment Period) – In some cases, a qualifying event such as loss of employer coverage or moving can trigger an SEP. If you miss this opportunity, you may have to wait for the GEP.
You have employer Coverage after the age of 65 – If either you or your spouse continue to work past the age of 65 and have employer-sponsored health coverage, you may delay Medicare enrollment. Late enrollment is allowed without a penalty as long as you enroll in Medicare within eight months of losing the employer coverage.
Rules and Guidelines for late Medicare enrollment
General Enrollment Period (GEP) – The GEP runs from January 1 through March 31 each year. Those who enroll during this period may face a late enrollment penalty (LEP). The LEP is added to your Medicare Part A, if you do not qualify for premium free Part A, and Part B monthly premium amount. For each 12-month period you delay enrollment in Part B, there is a 10% penalty applied. The penalty lasts for as long as the beneficiary has Part B coverage. That is one reason to enroll in Medicare as soon as you are eligible.
Medicare Advantage with prescription coverage (MAPD) and stand-alone Part D plans – Individuals who did not have creditable prescription coverage while they were eligible, will also have to pay a Part D penalty for late enrollment.
How to apply for Medicare
Go to the Official Medicare Website – In some instances, beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare online. This is the easiest way to enroll. Just visit medicare.gov and you will see options to enroll. This website provides comprehensive information for those enrolling in Medicare or if you have Medicare questions.
Visit your local Social Security Office – Beneficiaries can either apply for Medicare over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 Monday – Friday 8 am – 7 pm. Tell the representative if you want to apply for Medicare A & B or Part A only. Hearing impaired beneficiaries can call TTY 1-800-325-0778.
If you want to apply in person, click here to find a local social security office.
Once you have your Medicare coverage in place, it is important to get the help of a licensed Medicare agent who can guide you through the different coverage choices available to supplement your coverage.