If you didn’t enroll in Medicare during your initial open enrollment period when you first turn 65 or become eligible for Medicare, there is an annual General Enrollment Period.  The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1st through March 31st every year. During this time, you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t sign up when you were first eligible, if you aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

If you don’t enroll in Part B when you’re first eligible, you may pay a penalty of 10% for each 12-month period you could’ve had Part B but didn’t sign up. In most cases, you’ll have to pay this penalty each time you pay your premiums for as long as you have Part B. The penalty increases the longer you go without Part B coverage, so it is crucial to enroll in Part B when you are eligible to avoid any late enrollment penalties.

If you are still working and covered under an employer group health plan when you turn 65, don’t worry, you can defer your enrollment in Medicare with no penalty. You will be given an 8-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to sign up for Part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times (whichever happens first):

  • The month after the employment ends
  • The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends
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