Medicare Open Enrollment

Are you turning 65 soon? Congratulations! You have accomplished a lot in your life, and now it is time to ensure a healthy and happy future. For most of us, turning 65 means our health insurance changes to Medicare. By learning about Medicare health insurance coverage, you can help ensure you choose the options that are best for your circumstances.  Medicare insurance helps pay for hospital visits, routine care, and prescription drug costs.

Make Sure You are Enrolled. Those turning 65 and already receiving Social Security (SS) retirement benefits, or who will receive SS retirement benefits at age 65, may automatically be enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65.  Others may choose to apply for Medicare during what is known as the “Initial Enrollment Period”. The Initial Enrollment Period includes the three months before you turn 65, the month in which you turn 65, and the three months after you turn 65. 

Some are not automatically enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65 or do not take advantage of the Initial Enrollment Period because they are still working and are on their employer-based insurance after they turn 65. Once one stops working or loses their employer coverage, they can take advantage of Medicare’s special enrollment and open enrollment periods. If you do not have other creditable health insurance coverage and wait until after your initial enrollment period, you may encounter financial penalties. 

Medicare has a Special Enrollment Period for those who decide to work after they turn 65. The period includes any time in which an individual is working and is covered under a qualified group health insurance plan while employed. The period also includes the first eight months after the employment ends or the qualified group health insurance ends, whichever comes first. Usually, you do not pay late enrollment penalties if you sign up during a special enrollment period.

Medicare Fall Open Enrollment period is from October 15 to December 7 of each year. During this time individuals can sign up for or change their Medicare coverage. During this period, you can:

  • Join a new Medicare advantage plan or sign up for a Medicare prescription drug plan  
  • Change advantage plans 
  • Change prescription drug plans 

Open enrollment For Medicare Parts A and B is January 1 through March 31. This period is a general enrollment period for Medicare Part B and for those who must pay premiums for Medicare Part A. If you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B during this open enrollment period, you also receive an additional three-month period in which to sign up for Medicare Part D coverage to supplement your Medicare health plan. However, there could be a late enrollment penalty for those who choose to use this open enrollment period to apply for Medicare Parts A and B and coverage may be delayed by months. 

Call Benefits in Action for questions about these enrollment periods or anything else about the Medicare application process. At no cost, experienced Medicare counselors will answer questions you may have about Medicare.  Call 720-221-8354 or email info@benefitsinaction.org.

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