During working years, most individuals have little choice in their health insurance coverage. Employees and their family members typically enroll in the health insurance plan offered by their employer and don’t ‘shop’ for a personal policy unless self-employed. However, once you turn 65 and are no longer working, typically you have choices to make about Medicare!
Each individual has their own initial enrollment period, which begins 3 months prior to your 65th birthday and ends 3 months following your 65th birthday. If you want your coverage to start the first day of your birth month, you will want to enroll within the 3 months leading up to your birthday. If you are 65, still working, and enrolled in a group policy that covers 20 or more employees, you are eligible for an extended special enrollment period where you can enroll in Medicare after your 65th birthday. To avoid late enrollment penalties, you will need to enroll within 7 months of your group coverage ending. If you miss both of these enrollment periods you are eligible to enroll in Medicare during the general enrollment period January 1 – March 31, annually. However, late enrollment penalties may apply for each year you delay signing up. Continue reading