min read
Braden Mosley

3 times to enroll in Medicare (plus, which is best)

Approaching Medicare feels like entering a 10-mile corn maze… only much less exciting. 😅

First things first - when can/should you enroll?

Today, I’ll explain the 3 Medicare enrollment periods and help you understand which is best for you.

Easing the Axiety around Medicare

In the past month, I've had 3 clients experience anxiety about enrolling in Medicare from 3 completely different angles.

One was 65 years old, aging into Medicare, and she was deciding between staying on her current employer coverage or jumping onto the Medicare ships.

Another was over 65 years old, she was retiring and coming off her employer coverage onto Medicare and was crippled by the thought of getting stuck with Medicare's infamous "lifetime penalties".

The third was in his 50s, had been on disability for 24 months, and was automatically being enrolled in Medicare. He was fed tons of misinformation and thought he wouldn't "qualify" for any Medicare plans.

At the very beginning of the Medicare process is one simple question:

"When is the best time to enroll in Medicare?"

The answer is less simple since it depends on your unique situation.

Today, expect to learn when the best time to enroll is based on your situation.

The 3 buckets

Across all my Medicare clients, I find that the timing of their enrollment usually fits into one of three buckets:

  • Before 65
  • At 65
  • After 65

So, get comfortable, grab a cup of coffee, and I'll explain how to approach each scenario.

I'll tackle them from most common to least common, which looks like:

  • At 65
  • After 65
  • Before 65

At 65: Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Most people sign up for Medicare around their 65th birthday.

Here's how to find out when your IEP is:

  1. Color-in your entire birthday month on the calendar
  2. Color-in the 3 months after.
  3. Color in the 3 months before.

The seven months that are colored-in is your IEP.

This is when most people are first eligible to enroll in Medicare.

Unless you continue to work past 65, you will most likely want to enroll during this period. Otherwise, you could be hit with lifetime penalties later.

After 65: Continued working

You most likely delayed Medicare because you (or your spouse) continued working past 65.

As long as you had "creditable coverage", you can get the penalties waived.

Part B (Medical) penalty = 10% per year you did not have coverage.

Part D (Drug) penalty = 1% per month you did not have coverage.

Creditable coverage includes:

  • Employer group plans
  • VA Benefits
  • Medicaid

and more.

(These plans often work really well when combined with Medicare, so don't assume there aren't other options! Get in touch to learn more.)

Here's what you'll have to do to have the penalties waived if you worked past 65:

  1. Get CMS form L564 filled out by your HR department
  2. Your broker can fax this to Social Security when they help you apply for Part B through CMS form 40B
  3. Look for a letter from your insurance provider asking for an 'attestation that you had creditable drug coverage'
  4. No forms are usually necessary. Form L564 covers it

I tell my clients to book a meeting with me about 3 months before they end their employer coverage so we have a clean transition into Medicare.

Under 65: Disability, ALS, ESRD

There are a few cases where you'll be automatically enrolled in Medicare before 65:

  1. If you've been getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months
  2. If you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease)
  3. If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

When is enrollment automatic?

You will only be automatically enrolled in Medicare if you are drawing Social Security Benefits, or if you meet one of the "under 65" criteria above.

If not, you will need to enroll. Meet with me for no-cost guidance.

You can go here to enroll in Parts A and/or B, however:

  1. I don't recommend doing it without professional guidance
  2. Know that A and B are not complete coverage. You must finish the process.

Completing the Medicare process

Original Medicare (parts A and B) is only "essential coverage", not "full coverage".

You need Drug coverage, and some other supplemental plan to fill the gaps in Original Medicare.

That is a topic for another newsletter.

If you want to dive in now, take my free Medicare Mastery course where I help you melt away your Medicare worries in under an hour, complete with 8-videos, a fill-in-the-blank workbook, a decision map, and a 9-month checklist to hang on your fridge.

That’s all for today.

See you next week!

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