When is the right time to register for Medicare?
Having trouble figuring when you should enroll in Medicare?
Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing with you the details of your various timing options and what happens if your late.
But first a brief introduction. My name is Greg Howard. I’m regional manager for USA Benefits Group, author of Medicare Made Easy, a 3-step guide to enrolling in Medicare, host of the internet talk radio show “Would The Real Obamacare Please Stand Up”, and a Medicare broker since 2009. All of that and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. 😊
Having said all of that, now let’s take a look at when you can and should sign up for Medicare
The easy answer is that the best time to register is during the 3 months prior to your 65th birthday month or the 3 months prior to the termination of your employer coverage for those of you who continued to work past age 65. For the sake of this demonstration we’ll use your 65th birthday month as our reference point.
If you register during that 3 month period, your Medicare coverage goes into effect on 1st day of your birthday month. So if you were born on July 31st, your coverage would go into effect on July 1st.
If you miss getting register in the 3 months before your birthday, you can register during your 65th birthday month and as late as 3 months after without any penalty. But if you do that, your start date may be delayed as much as 3 additional months after you register. So for example registering during the last month of your initial open enrollment period could mean that your coverage won’t start until 6 months after your 65th birthday.
If you miss getting registered during this 7 month Initial Open Enrollment Period. You can enroll for the 1st time any year between Jan. 1st through March 31st but you will be subject to a penalty for registering late.
The penalty is an additional 10% in annual premiums for every year you are late in registering and stays with you the rest of your life. So if you’re 2 years late, they’re going to add 20% to all your premiums forever. And that’s just not a good idea.
So now you know the best time is to register for Medicare is in the 3 months prior to your 65th birthday. No point in starting any sooner than that since you can't get registered with CMS until then.
WHAT SAY YOU?
We don't have a customer quote regarding this one specifically, but it is safe to say that this is vital information since enrolling for Medicare is truly a once in a life time event.
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