You may know that eligibility for Medicare benefits begins at age 65. You may also know that Part A is commonly free and Part B typically involves a monthly premium. Unfortunately not everyone knows that coverage may NOT start the month your client turns 65 depending on the time he or she signed up for Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period. Understanding the enrollment periods for Medicare is IMPERATIVE!!!
The Initial Enrollment Period is a seven month period and begins three months before your client’s 65th birthday, during the month of their 65th birthday, and three months after their 65th birthday.
**Coverage always starts the 1st day of the month.
Here is what I mean that coverage may not start during the month of your client’s 65th birthday:
If your client signs up for Part B during the month of their 65th birthday or during the three months after, coverage will not just start on the 1st of the preceding month. Instead, coverage may not start for 1, 2, or even 3 months AFTER your client signed up.
In other words, your clients may be UNINSURED for a few months if they wait to sign up for Part B benefits…Yikes!
For instance, let’s say that Sally turns 65 on November 22, 2016.
Scenario 1: If Sally signs up for Part B in November, then coverage will begin on December 1st, 2016. (one month after she signed up)
Scenario 2: If Sally signs up for Part B in December, coverage will begin on February 1st, 2017. (two months after she signed up)
Scenario 3: If Sally signs up for Part B in January, coverage will begin on April 1st, 2017. (three months after she signed up)
Scenario 4: If Sally signs up for Part B in February (last month of her Initial enrollment period), coverage will begin on May 1st, 2017. (three months after she signed up)
Scenario 5: If Sally had signed up for Part B in August, September, or October, then coverage would start on November 1st, 2016 and Sally would be happy!
Altogether, make sure your clients are signing up for Part B Medicare coverage in the first three months of their Initial Enrollment Period. This will help you avoid unhappy and uninsured clients.
If your client is planning on continuing his or her current employer health benefits, please read about How to Transition to Medicare from Employer-based Insurance
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