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"easyMedicare made getting the coverage I deserved easy and saved me a great deal of money."

- Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann - NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champion

Medicare: Can I Enroll in December? (continued)

Special Enrollment Periods

As your 65th birthday approaches, there’s no law mandating that you retire and signup for Medicare. Just as you can continue working long past 65, if you want to, you can hold onto your group health plan at work or through your union. But when your coverage under that plan ends, whether by you or your employer, the clock starts ticking off the days and months you have before you must register for Medicare or risk penalties.

Your Special Enrollment Period (SEP) after the end of group coverage spans two full months. It begins with the first full month following the end of your group health plan. It’s another special circumstance that could allow you to sign up for Medicare after the annual Dec. 7 deadline for AEP.

Keep in mind: While there are no penalties for holding onto an employer-sponsored health plan past your 65th birthday, you’ll need to furnish proof of your group plan to ensure that you aren’t mistakenly punished for missing what would have been your IEP.

There are other circumstances that could open up an SEP window for you:

  • Moving — if you move to a different zip code, you may be outside the service area for your current Medicare plan!
  • Extenuating circumstances — if you missed your IEP due to something out of your control, such as a natural disaster.
  • A 5-star plan — a top-rated plan becomes available, after being unavailable during your IEP.
  • Dual enrollment — if you become eligible for Medicaid, you could qualify for a Dual Special Needs Plan.

Looking Forward to It

Keep it all in front of you. The penalties for missing enrollment periods can be stiff and persistent.

One of the biggest reasons people face Medicare penalties is a lack of awareness. If you’re looking forward to it and you learn what you expect, your enrollment window won’t loom quite as large.

Talk to a licensed insurance agent today at 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, Saturday so that the last day of your enrollment window is just another day and isn’t cause for panic.