September 2, 2014
Sorting Out Medicare Enrollment Dates
Failing to meet one of Medicare’s many enrollment deadlines can be costly to new or imminent 65 year olds.
The Journal of Financial Planning helps aging baby boomers start out on the right foot with a clear run-down of at least five different enrollment windows for various parts of Medicare.
Getting these dates right is “very tricky,” and people often make mistakes that lead to higher out-of-pocket medical costs and gaps in their coverage, said Katy Votava, president of the consulting firm, Goodcare.com, and author of “Making the Most of Medicare: A Guide for Baby Boomers.”
“They often receive well-meaning but mistaken advice, and then they’re really in a pickle,” she said. “They aren’t eligible to apply when they want to or face penalties down the road. Coverage gaps can be a tremendous financial burden.”
The image displayed was extracted from the Journal’s enrollment timeline, and the entire graphic and a Journal article by Votava can be viewed here. The graphic is worth 1,000 words but here are some important don’t-miss dates:
- Failing to enroll in basic Medicare (parts A and B) three months before or during the month of one’s 65th birthday creates at least a two-month delay in coverage.
- People can buy or switch their Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plan between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. But Advantage plan disenrollment dates are Jan. 1 – Feb. 14, when simultaneous Part D enrollment is also permitted.
- To avoid underwriting rules that may restrict coverage or increase premiums for private Medigap coverage, enroll in Medigap during the six-month period that starts the month of one’s 65th birthday.