The rules for when you should start Medicare Part B enrollment can be very complicated and literally depend on your circumstances.
I’ve seen numerous articles that say 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 everyday. I’ve also seen that about 50% of them start taking social security retirement income before they turn 65. If you’re turning 65 and already receiving social security retirement income you’re automatically part of Medicare Part B enrollment. This means about 5000 people a day are automatically enrolled in Parts A & B of Medicare. (You can opt out of B if you want.)
What about the other 5000 people that are not automatically part of Medicare Part B enrollment? They need to decide when to enroll in part B. Most importantly they need to be pro-active about it because their enrollment is not automatic. There are a ton of things to consider.
Medicare Part B enrollment considerations
CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) puts out a 28 page publication called “Enrolling in Medicare Part A & Part B”. It provides some guidance on when you should be part of the Medicare Part B enrollment. But at 28 pages long, it only touches on some of the scenarios. There are all types of nuances and variances that aren’t discussed in the publication.
You’ll need to consider whether you or your spouse are still working at age 65. If you are offered a qualified health plan by your employer and how that affects you. Does your employer have more or less than 20 employees? Is Medicare the primary or secondary coverage? If you’re offered COBRA will affect your decision? There’s an eight month period to enroll without a penalty but COBRA is not considered “qualified coverage”. This means you could experience a lifetime penalty for taking a COBRA benefit!
When to start investigating
Which brings me back to the topic of this article: start investigating Medicare when you turn 64. That should give you ample time to search through thousands of articles on the internet, place as many calls to Medicare as you want and to speak with financial professionals. You want to get it right, for if you don’t, Medicare can slap penalties for not enrolling in time on your premiums that last the rest of your life.
And don’t forget, once you do sign up for Part B the clock starts ticking on your Medicare Supplement plan Open Enrollment Period. This is a time during which issuance of a Medigap plan is guaranteed and no medical questions are being asked. Contact me when you are ready for that. We can get the coverage date to coincide with your Medicare.
Individual and Family Specialist