If you are turning 65 soon, your Initial Enrollment Period is likely about to start soon or may have already begun. Initial Enrollment is when most people enroll in Medicare and Medicare Advantage for the first time. There are a lot of aspects to consider surrounding the topic of Medicare, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or confused. Our job is to make Medicare as easy as possible, that’s why we are here to answer those questions!
Generally, you are eligible for Medicare when you turn 65. You may be eligible for Medicare prior to age 65 if you are disabled or have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS.
Enrollment for Medicare isn’t always open. You first become eligible for Medicare three months before the month of your 65th birthday. Initial Medicare enrollment lasts for 7 months surrounding your 65th birthday and includes:
· Three months before the month of your birthday
· The month of your birthday
· Three months after your birthday month
For example, if you turn 65 in May, your Initial Enrollment Period would start in February and end in August. You can apply for Medicare Part A at any time after you turn 65. If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you will likely be required to pay a late enrollment penalty, which you will pay for as long as you have Medicare Part B. Because of this, it’s important to apply for Medicare when you’re first eligible.
If you wait until after your Initial Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare, you may be stuck without coverage. In addition, if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, you will end up having to pay a 10 percent penalty for each year that you didn’t enroll.
Your Medicare coverage will start depending on the month in which you initially enrolled. If you enroll in the three months before you turn 65, your Medicare coverage will start the month of your 65th birthday. If your birthday is the first of the month, your Medicare coverage can start the month before your 65th birthday. If you enroll during the month you turn 65, your Medicare coverage will start the following month. If you wait until the month after you turn 65 to enroll, Medicare coverage will start two months after you enroll. If you wait 2-3 months after your 65th birthday to enroll in Medicare, it will start 3 months after you enroll.
Medicare Advantage plans can provide all-in-one coverage including the coverage of your Part A and B as well as coverage of prescription drugs, vision, dental and hearing. On top of that, many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits including fitness programs, medical transportation, chiropractic, and more!
Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. You can obtain coverage through a standalone Part D Plan OR with a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage. Be aware you may pay a penalty if you do not select some form of prescription drug coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Provider networks can be an important factor in your Medicare plan choice. Many Medicare Advantage Plans offer cost savings by working within a specific network. Carefully consider which of your doctors you are (or are not) willing to change, especially long-term primary care physicians or specialists for major medical needs.
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Last Updated: November 1, 2022 MULTIPLAN_ETQEZMwebsite_0722_M