Remember that the “Initial Enrollment Period” for Medicare begins 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday and extends 3 months after the month of your 65th birthday. For most retirees, it is best to enroll as soon as possible since the sooner you enroll, the sooner the coverage starts. Don’t be confused with the Open Enrollment Period or General Enrollment Period that you may find on the internet – the Initial Enrollment is just for you and is based on your birthday. If you fail to enroll during this window you will be subjected to a 10% late penalty on your Medicare Part B premium for each year that you are late. Ouch!
If you are delaying your Social Security enrollment to age 66 or beyond, you should still enroll in Medicare at age 65. These are separate decisions.
The exception: “The Special Enrollment Period”
There is an exception for those who were still working at age 65 (or whose spouse was still working) and had health insurance through an employer. In that case, there is a “Special Enrollment Period” that allows you to sign up for Medicare up to eight months after the employment ends. Once again, it is best to enroll as soon as possible since coverage will not begin for one to two months after you enroll.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call.