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What is Medicare?
Medicare is federal health insurance for:
- People who are 65 or older
- Certain younger people with disabilities
Medicare is split into 4 different parts: A, B, C, and D.
- Hospital Stays, nursing facility care, hospice care
- Certain doctor's services, outpatient care, medical supplies
- Medicare Advantage: combine Parts A and B into one plan plus vision and dental
- Prescription drug coverage
How to Sign Up
Initial Enrollment Period Turning 65
If you are enrolling at the age of 65, you will have 3 months before the month of your birthday plus 3 months after the month of your birthday to enroll. That gives enrollees a total of 7 months to enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
For example, if you were turning 65 in May, your IEP would look like this:
Special Enrollment Period After Retirement
If you plan on working past the age of 65, your enrollment period will look a little different. The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) will give enrollees 8 months, plus the month of retirement/month of losing coverage, to sign up for Medicare.
So, if you were to retire or lose coverage in March your SEP would look like this:
Initial Enrollment Period for Disability
For those applying under a qualifying disability, your IEP is similar to someone turning 65. After receiving disability benefits for 24 months you will automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B). You will have 3 months before and after your 25th month of disability to enroll in other coverage.
For example, if you were to reach 25 months of disability in April your IEP would look like this:
General Enrollment Period
When it comes to Medicare, signing up early is the name of the game. Even if you sign up during the allotted enrollment period, the approval process may take longer than your current coverage will last. To avoid any chances of having a gap between coverages, sign up as soon as you can.
If you miss your enrollment period there is a General Enrollment Period (GEP) every year. However, signing up for Parts A and B are broken up from Parts C and D. Also, you will most likely have to pay a late enrollment penalty on top of your monthly premium.