The Medicare system is a complicated and confusing process for most people. You need to know which plan you qualify for, how much it will cost, and when the deadline is. If you miss the deadline, you’re left without any coverage whatsoever. Luckily you can get help from Medicare experts like Ehealth, Clearmatchmedicare, or SelectQuote. Here, we’ll outline seven different time frames to enroll in Medicare so that no one has an excuse not to take advantage of their benefits.
1. When you turn 65 years old
This is the most obvious time frame for enrolling in Medicare because this is when your coverage officially begins. You can start signing up three months before and three months after your 65th birthday; however, it is recommended to try signing up as early as possible so that there’s no chance of missing the deadline. There are several different plans for you to choose from, and you can even add extra coverage. This is the best time frame to get Medicare because it covers all your health needs and provides more functions than other plans. This is especially helpful if you live in a rural area away from major medical facilities. If your hospital is far, Medicare covers all of the costs associated with transportation by ambulance or helicopter.
2. When you leave an employer-sponsored health care plan
If you leave an employer-sponsored health care plan, usually because of retirement or you were laid-off, you can sign up for Medicare during the first eight months. If you enroll in Medicare Part A and B within this time frame, your coverage will be effective on the day that your previous coverage ended; however, if you enroll after eight months, your coverage won’t go into effect for another one to three months. This is a great help if you have been laid off from work and receive COBRA coverage from your former employer.
3. When you’re diagnosed with a disability
If you are disabled, whether it’s a physical or mental disability, you can sign up for Medicare at any time. You need to provide documentation of your disability signed by your doctor and send the necessary information to the Social Security Administration (SSA) with your application. Once they receive this information, they will begin processing it right away, which should only take a couple of months. If approved, your coverage will start on the date you submitted your application or eight months after it was submitted, whichever is earlier.
4. When you’re moving to a different state
If you’re moving from one state to another, you have the option of staying on your current Medicare coverage or switching. Suppose you decide to move anywhere in the United States. In that case, you can keep your current plan if you choose to move anywhere in the United States, including a different state within your previous plan’s service area. However, if you decide to switch, it will not affect your current benefits, and you can switch back to your original plan at any time. If you move to a foreign country, your Medicare will be terminated, and you will not be able to re-enroll.
5. When you’re losing coverage from another plan
There are many different types of plans that can provide you with the coverage required to sign up for Medicare. If you’re losing your current plan, whether it’s because of divorce, moving out of your former spouse’s health care plan service area, or they are no longer employed, then you can sign up during this time frame. However, if you wait until eight months after your coverage ends, Medicare will not accept your application. You can also sign up for Medicare in both scenarios if it’s in the best interest of your health.
6. When you’re moving to a nursing home
Another time that you can sign up for Medicare is when you’re moving into a nursing home. If you’re moving from your home to a nursing home, you can sign up for Medicare Part A and B on the first day of the month in which you moved. Keep in mind that if you have coverage through a current employer or union, it will continue as long as the employer or union agrees to cover you. Suppose it’s determined that the nursing home is located within your former employer or union’s service area. In that case, the coverage will be extended for up to 30 days while you wait for Medicare.
7. When you Have a Baby
If you’re pregnant and not on Medicare Part A, then you can sign up for it on the 60th day after your baby is born. When signing up for coverage on this date, there won’t be any penalties or enrollment fees that will affect your eligibility to enroll in a future month since you were pregnant during this time frame. However, if you have a baby before signing up for Medicare Part A, it will result in future penalties and enrollment fees as long as your child is under age 18.
Depending on your specific situation, there can be many different reasons why you may want to sign up for Medicare. Just make sure that the date you’re signing up is within the proper time frame and that it’s in your best interest. For example, if you lose coverage from a former employer and wait eight months before enrolling in Medicare, you may have to pay a higher premium. Make sure you’re well-informed about your options and what’s available to you before making any decisions.