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A Review of Medicare Enrollment Dates

Caregiver giving elder woman cup of coffee

Retirement is full of major changes, and make changes to those plans, according to your own changing needs or alterations to the plans themselves.

Since Medicare will be a brand new system for you, it can take a few years to get used to it. The following simple timeline will help you remember relevant dates, so that you never miss an important deadline.

Three months before your 65’th birthday, and extending for three months afterward, you can sign up for Medicare during your Initial Coverage Election Period. It’s very important to remember this deadline, because signing up for Medicare late could mean that you pay higher premiums for life.

If you’re already drawing Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. But you will still have to evaluate your own need for Part C, Part D, or Medigap coverage.

Starting on January 1 and your premiums might be higher due to your late enrollment.

From October 15 to December 7 of each year, the Open Enrollment period allows you to make changes to your Medicare plan(s). You should receive a notice in the mail, informing you of any changes to your plan, before Open Enrollment begins. In the weeks prior to Open Enrollment, talk to your primary physician about your healthcare plans for the next year, and evaluate last year’s spending. You can switch to a different plan, or pick up a supplemental policy if you choose. Coverage will begin on January 1.

From January 1 until February 14 of each year, the Special Disenrollment Period allows you to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to an Original Medicare plan, if you have changed your mind about your Advantage policy.

Hopefully this simple timeline has helped clarify the different types of Medicare enrollment and choose the healthcare plan that is right for you.