When Should You First Apply for Medicare?

It’s common for new members to have difficulty signing up for Medicare Insurance. It is important to enroll correctly to receive the proper health coverage, and this blog will help you apply for Medicare insurance.  

The ideal time to apply for Medicare benefits is 3 months prior to turning 65. An individual younger than 65 is not eligible for Medicare benefits. However, if you sign up for it later, you may have to pay a penalty or risk having a gap in your coverage. Some people can also be eligible before turning 65.  

Individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) don’t have to wait to turn 65 before applying for Medicare insurance, and some with end-stage renal disease may also be eligible earlier.  

It is not complicated to sign up for Medicare; the initial enrollment window opens up 3 months before you turn 65 and lasts till the last day of the third month following your birthday month.  

This means that the IEP (Initial Enrollment Period) lasts a total of seven months. This is the enrollment window that you should not miss.  

However, if you miss this opportunity, there are other changes when you can enroll for Medicare, but you may face penalties or a gap in coverage. Having credible coverage is the only way of avoiding these penalties.  

Your Medicare insurance begins the first day of the month you turn 65 if you register anytime within the first 3 months of your IEP. Coverage commences on the first day of the following month if you register during the fourth month. Coverage will be delayed by 2 – 3 months if you wait until the 5th, 6th, or 7th month. If your birthday is in July and you sign up in October (the last month of your IEP), for example, coverage will not begin until January 1.  

There are three types of Medicare coverages, hospital insurance called Medicare Part A, medical insurance called Part B, and prescription drug coverage called part D.  

Registering for part A and part B  

Suppose you are already collecting Social Security payments or certain RRB (railroad retirement board) disability benefits for 2 years or more. Under those circumstances, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Insurance parts A and B when you turn 65. However, they can choose to keep or decline Medicare insurance part B.   

You can avail Medicare insurance part A for free if you worked for at least ten years and paid Medicare taxes. Hence, irrespective of whether you are still working when you are 65 or not, it is wise that you enroll in Medicare part A asap. This will help in reducing your inpatient hospital charges.  

Medicare insurance part B requires the member to pay a monthly fee. Additionally, if you already have monthly insurance when you are 65, postponing Medicare part B will have no penalties.  

How to enroll if you miss the IEP  

Special Enrollment Period: People who didn’t apply for Medicare insurance when they were first eligible because they or their spouse were still working and had employer-sponsored Group Health Plan coverage based on that employees have the option to apply for Medicare outside of the Initial Enrollment Period. Usually, the coverage commences the month after enrollment, but it might take up to 3 months in some cases.  

Individuals eligible for Medicare insurance due to disabilities could be eligible for the Special Enrollment Period based on their spouse’s current work. They may also be eligible if a family member or spouses’ organization has 100 or more workers.  

When should you sign up for IEP?  

To avoid delayed coverage and penalties, ensure that you sign up for Medicare insurance help under these situations:  

  • The health insurance you own is not provided by an employer but is self-purchased.  
  • You don’t have any other health insurance  
  • Your or your spouses’ prior employer has provided you with retirement benefits  
  • You don’t have insurance provided by a current employer but have veteran benefits.  
  • You or your spouse have COBRA coverage, which extends the benefits you or your spouse received while employed.  
  • You are in a live-in relationship with a same or opposite-sex partner and are insured by their health coverage.  

If you are still confused about applying for Medicare coverage, consider hiring a licensed agent or a Medicare insurance company, like All Vest Associates, who will help select the best plan for you that will benefit you for years to come.