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 Penalties||Jump 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.
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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Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador
Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine
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