If you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits, you should automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A & B when you turn 65.
If you’re eligible for Medicare, but not currently receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits, there are three different time periods you can enroll in Medicare Parts A & B.
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) - 7-month period surrounding your 65th The period is 3 months before, the month of, and 3 months after your 65th birthday. You can file a Medicare enrollment application with the local Social Security office during this period.
- General Enrollment Period (GEP) – eligible for Medicare but missed (IEP) above^. Takes place between January 1st and March 31st of each year with coverage starting July 1st. ** There is a 10% premium penalty for each 12-month period you delay enrollment beyond (IEP)**
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP) – penalty free opportunity to enroll in Medicare outside of normal enrollment periods. **Triggered by specific circumstances**
- If you (or your spouse) are working past age 65 with employer-based insurance covering more than 20 people. You can wait until you (or your spouse) stop working (or lose your health insurance, if that happens first) to sign up for Part B (Medical Insurance), and you won’t pay a late enrollment penalty. If you don’t have to pay a premium for Part A (Hospital Insurance), you can choose to sign up when you turn 65 (or anytime later).
- If you (or your spouse) are working past age 65 with employer-based insurance covering LESS than 20 people. Ask the employer that provides your health insurance if you need to sign up for Part A and Part B when you turn 65. If you don’t sign up for Part A and Part B, your job-based insurance might not cover the costs for services you get. If you do get Medicare and keep your job-based insurance, Medicare pays for services first, and your job-based insurance pays second.
**Don’t wait until your COBRA coverage ends to sign up for Part B. COBRA doesn’t extend your limited time to sign up for Medicare**