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7 Frequently Asked Questions: Medicare Enrollment

Enrolling in Medicare can be quite confusing. Knowing when to enroll is key to avoiding late enrollment penalties and lapses in coverage. Today, we’re going to review frequently asked questions about Medicare enrollment, including eligibility, how to enroll, penalties, and more.

Medicare enrollments: question marks in pile

1. Who is eligible for Medicare?

People who are 65 or older and citizens or permanent residents of the United States are eligible for Original Medicare. Younger individuals are also eligible for Medicare if they have been on disability for at least 24 months or if they’ve been diagnosed with specific diseases like End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

2. When can I enroll in Medicare?

You can enroll in Medicare during the 7-month period that begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after that month. This is called your Initial Enrollment Period or IEP. You can also enroll in Medicare at a later date, depending on your circumstances. Certain life events will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. If you miss your IEP and don’t qualify for an SEP, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 through March 31.

3. How do I enroll in Medicare?

You can enroll in Medicare online through the Social Security Administration website, by calling the Social Security Administration, or by visiting your local Social Security office.

4. Do I have to enroll in Medicare if I am still working and have employer-sponsored insurance?

If you are still working and have employer-sponsored insurance, you may choose to delay enrolling in Medicare. However, be sure that if you choose to delay coverage, your current healthcare plan has been deemed creditable by Medicare. You will need to enroll in Medicare when you stop working to avoid paying a late enrollment penalty.

5. What happens if I don't enroll in Medicare when I am first eligible?

If you do not enroll in Medicare when you are first eligible (and you don’t have creditable coverage in place), you may face a late enrollment penalty and may have to wait until the next enrollment period to enroll.

6. How do I enroll in Medicare Part B (medical insurance)?

You can enroll in Medicare Part B at the same time you enroll in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). If you choose to enroll in Part B later, you might have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

7. Can I enroll in Medicare Advantage instead of Original Medicare?

Yes, you can choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage, which is a type of private insurance that provides Medicare benefits. You can enroll in Medicare Advantage during the same enrollment period as you enroll in Original Medicare.

Our advisors at Local Medicare Specialists can answer all your questions about enrolling in Medicare. Chat with an agent near you to get the Medicare health plans you need.

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