Toni Says: Is Medicare’s 7-Month Enrollment Period for Part A or Part B?

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Toni:

I am turning 65 next March and am puzzled about Medicare’s 7-month enrollment period. I have heard that this time is only for Medicare Part B and that confuses me because I do not know how to enroll in Medicare’s Part A?

Do you enroll in Medicare Part A and B separately or together? I do not know how the 7-month window works. Is there only a certain time that I can enroll? I work part-time and am not eligible for the company benefits. Please explain what I should do. Thanks, Gary from Katy, TX

Gary:

Do not feel alone. America is confused on enrolling in Medicare the right way, to keep from receiving the dreaded Medicare Part B penalty.

The 7-month Medicare Initial Enrollment Period is for those who wish to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they are turning 65 and not covered by employer group health insurance. When one is covered by employer health insurance, whether through an employer or a spouse’s employer group health plan, then there is penalty protection for not enrolling in Medicare Part B when turning 65.

Medicare’s Initial Enrollment Period is a 7-month window that begins 3-months before the month one turns 65, the month turning 65, and 3-months after turning 65. If you are covered on Medicare Parts A and B by the end of your Initial Enrollment Period, you will avoid being stressed-out from worry about Medicare penalties.

Visit www.SSA.gov to create a My Social Security Account to enroll in Medicare, which is very simple because everything is processed online at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/medicare for your Original Medicare to begin the month you are turning 65 by enrolling 3-months before turning 65. If enrolling the month, you turn 65, your Medicare will begin the month after. Enroll the 3-months after your birthday and your Medicare will be further delayed.

Additionally, it is important to know if you are going to take your Social Security check or not when turning 65. If you are not, then it will be your responsibility to visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare and enroll in Medicare. By not enrolling at the right time, you put yourself at risk of a penalty.

When one enrolls in Medicare Parts A and B, then it is time to chose whether to go with Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement and a stand-alone Medicare Part D for your prescriptions or pick a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare Part D plan.

When delaying enrolling in Medicare Part B, there could be additional paperwork related to the Medicare enrollment. You can later claim a Special Enrollment Period, when you or your spouse are still working and have an employer group health insurance plan. This Special Enrollment Period can keep you from being ambushed by penalties when processed at the right time and in the correct way.

This information on personalizing your Medicare enrollment and plan options can be found in the Medicare Survival Guide Advanced - available at www.tonisays.com.

For a Medicare Checkup, call the Toni Says® Medicare call center at 832/519-8664 or email info@tonisays.com regarding your Medicare plans and options.

Medicare Open Enrollment Special: $10 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the 2021Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.

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