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Medicare - When do I apply?

Medicare - When do I apply?

June 16, 2020
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If you are like most of us, you’ve probably been thinking about your health quite a bit lately — especially if you’re approaching retirement. Trust me, I understand. Anticipating your future medical costs can feel daunting. When it comes to your health, Medicare may be an important part of your retirement strategy.

Age Matters
Outside of certain unique circumstances, Medicare has strict rules governing when you become eligible for the program. In general, you can apply for Medicare:

  • As early as three months before the month you turn 65
  • During the month you turn 65
  • Up to three months after the month you turn 651

Medicare Special Enrollment Period

You may choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B when you are first eligible because you are already covered by group medical insurance through an employer or union. When you retire or lose your employer coverage, you will have an 8-month Special Enrollment Period in which to enroll in Medicare.  Your 8-month Special Enrollment Period begins either the month that your employment ends or when your group health coverage ends, whichever occurs first. You will have up to 8 months to enroll in Parts A and/or B, but only the first two months to enroll in Parts C and/or D.

If you enroll during an SEP, you generally do not have to pay a late enrollment penalty.  Please also keep in mind that COBRA is not considered current employer coverage and would not qualify you for a special enrollment period.2

Do I Need to Notify Anyone If I am Delaying Medicare?

You do not need to provide notice that you plan to delay enrolling unless you are currently receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If you are receiving either, you will be automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B when you turn 65.  You will need to notify the Social Security Administration that you wish to delay Part B. By law, if you receive a Social Security benefit you must also have Medicare Part A.

No matter what you decide, you have choices regarding your healthcare expenses in retirement. As always, if you have any questions or want to chat about your options, your Turning Pointe Financial Advisor can help to navigate and steer you in the right direction.

1. Healthline, 2020

2. Medicare.gov, 2020

*Not affiliated with any government agency. *This is a solicitation for insurance, and a licensed agent may contact you.