Medicare has a few different enrollment periods, which can make things confusing. First there is your Initial Enrollment, which comes around the recipient’s 65th birthday. If you have a good reason not to sign up for Medicare Part B at that time, you can sign up during your Special Enrollment Period. Medicare Advantage plan enrollment is during Open Enrollment, from October 15 to December 7. And Medigap Open Enrollment is the six months after you sign up for Part B.
You can first enroll in Medicare when you turn 65. Each person has a seven month initial enrollment period. Leading up to your 65th birthday, you have three months to sign up for Medicare coverage. If you sign up in the three months before your birthday month, you will be able to have coverage start on the first day of your birthday month or the first day of the month before if your birthday falls on the first. You can enroll in Idaho Medicare plans during the month of your birthday or in the three months after, but your coverage will be delayed.
Waiting to sign up for a Medicare Plan can result in late enrollment fees. The Medicare Part B late enrollment fee adds 10% for every 12 month period you went without signing up after you became eligible.
You may be able to delay enrolling in Part B with no penalty if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. These are given when people lose coverage or coverage ends through no fault of their own. For example, if you still have coverage through your employer or former employer, you can wait to sign up for Medicare until this coverage ends.
To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. You must also live within your chosen plan’s service area. Idaho counties all have Medicare advantage plans with service providers in the region. To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in Idaho, you can first enroll in Original Medicare, then switch to a Medicare Advantage plan during Open Enrollment.
Open Enrollment for Medicare comes each fall from October 15 through December 7. During that time you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, switch to a different plan, or drop a plan and return to Original Medicare.
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment
The time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement is in the first six months after you are first enrolled in Medicare Part B. This begins your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, during which time you will not be subjected to medical underwriting when you sign up for a Medigap policy. You also cannot be charged higher premiums because of a preexisting or current health condition. Health insurance companies are not federally required to sell Medicare supplements to people under the age of 65, but in Idaho you can purchase a plan. You may be subjected to higher premiums than someone who is 65 or older.
For more information about enrolling in Medicare, contact Teton Medicare.