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Medicare is a federal health program for qualified citizens. The program is open to people aged 65 or older and people who have been diagnosed with end stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. You can also be automatically enrolled if you or your spouse has worked for at least ten years and paid Medicare taxes.

To apply and be enrolled in Medicare, you must meet the eligibility requirements and enroll during the right enrollment periods. 

When to Enroll in Medicare

A lot of Medicare beneficiaries enroll in the program around their 65th birthday as this is when most people become eligible to enroll. This is known as the Initial Enrollment Period. This is considered the best time for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries to enroll because missing this period could very much lead to you paying late enrollment penalties. While some seniors may not find these penalties to be that big of a deal, it does tack onto your monthly Medicare premiums, resulting in you paying more than what you initially would have if you would’ve enrolled during your Initial Enrollment Period.

You can typically apply for Medicare online through the Social Security Administration’s website. If you’re three months from turning 65 but don’t want to start getting your Social Security benefits just yet, you can still apply using their online retirement application and just sign up for Medicare, nothing else. You can always apply for your retirement benefits at a later date.

Now, if you’re automatically enrolled, you won’t have to worry about signing up manually during your Initial Enrollment Period, and thus, you won’t have to worry about paying any late enrollment penalties. 

Even if you are automatically enrolled, you should still be aware of the multiple enrollment periods. These can be super beneficial if you decide later on you want to make changes to your current coverage and enroll in a new plan.

Medicare Enrollment Periods

One of the best enrollment periods to make changes to your coverage is the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7 of every year. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare but would rather have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can certainly make the change during this period.

If you already have Medicare Advantage but just want traditional Medicare coverage, you can drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and stick with Original Medicare. You can even enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan if you need the coverage.

Now, if you weren’t able to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can definitely enroll during the General Enrollment Period, but this could lead to you paying late enrollment penalties. That’s why we suggest to enroll in Medicare as soon as you become eligible, or if you choose to delay your enrollment, make sure you first qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Periods are granted to individuals who have special life circumstances that prevented them from enrolling during one of the other enrollment periods, and can prevent them from having to pay penalties.
At MB Insurance Solutions, we specialize in Medicare and will help you get the Medicare plan you need. Contact us today at 656-202-0602 for more information about the enrollment process and how to apply.