There is a 7 month window for enrolling in Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and/or Part D. Those 7 months include the 3 months prior to your birthday, the month of your birthday and 3 months after your birthday.
For example, if your birthday is July 23rd your enrollment period will start April 1st and run through the end of October. If you are already receiving Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you may be automatically enrolled for Medicare Part A and Part B. However, if you are not automatically enrolled and you want your Medicare coverage to start on the month when you turn 65 you must apply for Medicare Part A and/or Part B during the three month period before you turn 65. If you wait until after the initial 3 month period, the start of your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage could be delayed.
You also have a 7 month window to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare supplement, Med Advantage) – Medicare Part C and or Medicare Part D (prescription coverage). While you can enroll any time within the 7 month enrollment period, your coverage will not actually start until the first day of your birthday month (unless your birthday is actually on the first day of the month – in which case your coverage would start the first of the month prior to your birthday month.)
In order to get your supplemental Medicare Coverage (Parts C and D) you must already be enrolled in parts A and B. Using our example 65th birthday of July 23, 2018 you would want to have Hospital and Doctor visit coverage (Medicare parts A & B) start on July 1, 2018 you must enroll between April 1 and June 30, 2018. Once you have enrolled for Parts A & B you can enroll for supplemental and prescription drug coverage within that same time period and have it start July 1, 2018.
One really important consideration is enrolling for Medicare Part D – prescription drug coverage. If you choose not to take Medicare Part D during your initial enrollment period and choose to enroll later (say at the next open enrollment period) you may be subject to a higher premium.
We can help you figure out your dates. We can also help you understand all of the options and help you navigate your choices. There is no obligation or fee for our consultations. We know it is confusing. We also know it is important.