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What Happens if I Miss Medicare Enrollment?

Life happens and tasks get overlooked. What happens, then, if you miss the Medicare enrollment period? Let’s find out.

In this article

When Can I Enroll in Medicare?Jump to
Late Enrollment PenaltiesJump to
I Missed the Enrollment Period – What Do I Do?Jump to

When Can I Enroll in Medicare?

There are three enrollment periods for Medicare:

  • Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after you turn 65.
  • General Enrollment Period (GEP): If you miss initial enrollment, you’re able to sign up during this period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 yearly, for a July 1 start date.
  • Special Enrollment Period(SEP): You’ll be able to sign up for Parts A and B during a SEP if you have special circumstances such as a move.

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Late Enrollment Penalties

It’s optimal to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period in order to avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty given that it’s a lifetime penalty that goes up the longer you wait to enroll. The Part B Enrollment Penalty causes your monthly premium to increase 10% for each 12-month period you could have been enrolled in Part B but failed to sign up for it.

Additionally, signing up when you’re first eligible can also help you avoid paying a lifetime Part D Late Enrollment Penalty, which is permanently added to your Part D (prescription drug coverage) premium. You may get hit with a late enrollment penalty if at any point after your Initial Enrollment Period is over, there is a 63-day (or more) period when you lack Medicare drug coverage or other creditable prescription drug coverage. This is also a lifetime penalty.

I Missed my Initial Enrollment Period – What Do I Do?

If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period, you need to enroll during your General Enrollment Period or during a Special Enrollment Period.

With regard to SEPs, if you are eligible for the Part B SEP, you can enroll penalty-free at any time while you have insurance tied to your job and for eight months after losing that job-based insurance or you or your spouse stop working, whichever comes first.

Learn more about what to do about Medicare if you’re still working after age 65 here.

Also, if you are less than 65 years old and are eligible for Medicare due to a disability, along with having job-based insurance through a family member’s current employment, you may also be eligible for a SEP if your relative’s workplace has at least 100 employees.

If you do not qualify for a SEP, then you can enroll during the annual GEP, but you may still incur late penalties.

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Education is crucial in finding the right Medicare solution for you. With so many Medicare resources out there, it can be difficult finding a source you can trust. That’s why Ensurem has a Compliance Program dedicated to ensuring our Medicare content meets Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations. So, you can rest assured you’re getting the information you need to make the right coverage decisions.

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Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador

Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine

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