Don’t worry if you’ve let your initial enrollment period close, you can still get covered by Medicare. This is what I found out:

What is Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period?

Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period is a seven month period starting three months prior to your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and three months after.

What are the Penalties if I Enroll in Medicare Late?

As you probably know by now Medicare is broken up into Part A (hospital) and Part B (general medicine), and their penalty’s work slightly differently.

Part A late enrollment:
If you don’t sign up for Part A when you’re first eligible, your monthly premium may go up 10%. You will pay this premium for twice the number of years you were eligible for Medicare but didn’t sign up.

Part B late enrollment:
If you don’t sign up for Part B when you are first eligible, you might have to pay 10% for each full year that you could have had Part B, but didn’t. Here’s the kicker, this premium may stay with you for the life of your Medicare coverage.

When does Medicare’s General Enrollment Begin?

If you miss your initial enrollment period there is a general enrollment period each year: January 1st thru March 31st. Coverage will begin July 1st. You will still be responsible for penalties.

Can I Still get Medicare If I don’t qualify for Social Security?

Yes. You are eligible even if you don’t qualify for Social Security retirement. However, you more than likely will pay the Medicare Part A premium, which is $426 for 2014. (Most everyone pays for their Part B premium regardless of SS eligibility)

What do I do After I Enroll in Medicare?

Decide if you want Medicare Advantage or enroll in a Medigap.

  • Medicare Advantage is an HMO-type, local network coverage which you pay copays, coinsurance, and a deductible. While it offers extra benefits such as Rx, dental, and vision.
  • Medigap maintains the large Medicare nationwide network and fills in the gaps by adding 365-days of hospitalization, covering copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, plus can cover foreign emergency healthcare.

If you decide to stay with Original Medicare you’ll want to look into prescription drug coverage.

Next Steps:
To learn more about Medicare call the number above or click here if you want a Medigap quote.