If you turn 65 in 2024, it is imperative that you sign up for 2024 Medicare enrollment during your designated registration window to avoid penalties when receiving Medicare benefits later on. However, the signup window is different for every person, based on the individual’s date of birth.
Determining Your Signup Window
Unfortunately, many individuals miss their designated registration window and are later shocked to find out their Medicare benefits will come at a higher price for this oversight. Furthermore, the opportunities to register become much more limited after the initial penalty-free window closes. It is therefore crucial to act quickly when your registration window nears.
Your window to sign up begins three months before the month that your 65th birthday falls in, and it ends three months after the month of your 65th birthday (for a total of seven months). However, to ensure no gaps in your coverage, it is best to apply within the three months prior to your birthday.
There is one exception to the above rule. You do not need to sign up if you are:
- Currently covered by an employer group health insurance plan AND
- That plan covers more than 20 employees AND
- You are still working (or your spouse is still working if you are a dependent on the plan)
Important Things to Know About Medicare
- Medicare is the primary insurance payer for anyone who is retired and over the age of 65. That means any other insurance plan you have will not be required to pay until Medicare has paid first. Therefore, if you haven’t signed up for Medicare, no insurance company will be required to cover any of your medical bills.
- Medicare does not cover all medical services. For example, dental, vision, and hearing services are not covered.
- Medicare enrollment is only automatic if you already receive Social Security benefits at age 65. However, even then, only Part A and B enrollment would be automatic; Part D & C are never automatic.
- Medicare is required, but not free. Furthermore, monthly premiums are often much higher than retirees expect, so it is important to be well-informed about the cost of insurance coverage before reaching age 65.
- Medicare does not constitute a complete insurance plan. It is designed to supplement other insurance coverage.
- As stated above, if you fail to sign up during your designated registration window, you will most likely be required to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Medicare.
It’s no secret that signing up for Medicare and trying to understand the available options can be very confusing. Enlisting the help of an independent insurance broker, as well as calling on the advice of your financial planning team, is typically well worth the effort. This is something our financial advisory firm in Spokane, WA, helps clients understand as part of their overall planning.
Whatever route you take, remember that time is of the essence! It’s never too early to become educated about the Medicare plans available and their respective benefits. Then, by marking your calendar in advance, signing up as soon as your registration window arrives can be a walk in the park.
Schedule a complimentary insight meeting with a Spokane financial planner to discuss your situation and how we may be able to help.