Senior couple cheering with champagne on a sailboat during wedding anniversary vacation

Who Can Join?

You can join Medicare if you are:

• 65 or older

• Being under 65 and getting disability benefits for at least 24 months 

When is Enrollment Automatic?

If you are getting Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board, or disability benefits through Social Security, then you will be automatically enrolled three months before your birthday (or after 24 months of being on disability).

What Are The Enrollment Periods?

Medicare Enrollment is divided into different times of year, because Medicare is not just one plan, but a type of insurance consisting of multiple plans - some of which are only offered through private insurance.

These are the enrollment periods:

• Initial Enrollment

• General Enrollment

• Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment

• Annual Election

• Special Enrollment

The Initial Enrollment Period is unique to you, because it is a seven-month window of time centered around your 65th birthday. This includes the month of your 65th birthday, as well as the three months before and after it. You can join any Medicare plan, be it Part A, B, C (Medicare Advantage), or D at this time. This is the one instance where you will not incur any late enrollment penalties.

General Enrollment allows you to join Original Medicare (Part A and B) if you missed your Initial Enrollment Period. This lasts from January 1 to March 31.

Like the General Enrollment, Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment takes place from January 1 to March 31. Here, you can switch or drop Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare drug plans. You first have to be enrolled before you can take advantage of this enrollment period, though.

Annual Election is from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can drop Original Medicare to join a Medicare Advantage and/or drug plan.

Special Enrollment is for circumstances such as when you move out of your network area, lose employer coverage, or when you move back into the US. In these situations, you have two full months to join another plan that is in your new network area.

What Are Late Enrollment Fees?

Late enrollment fees apply when you wait past your Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Medicare. When this happens, a percentage or period of time is added onto your monthly premium.

The Part A late enrollment penalty is 10%, and you pay it for twice the number of years you waited to join. If you joined two years late, you will pay an extra 10% for four years.

Part B’s late enrollment penalty accrues an additional 10% per year you wait, and it is permanent. If you wait two years, you pay 20% extra for the remainder of the time you hold your policy.

As for Part D, its penalty is permanent, but unlike the other plans, it gains an extra 1% per month you wait to join. This is based on how long you have gone without creditable drug coverage. This number is then multiplied by the national base beneficiary premium ($33.06 in 2021), rounding that to the nearest dime, and then adding that on top of your premium.

For All Your Enrollment Questions

We are here! At Cashmore Financial Group, we are more than happy to help you enroll in the Medicare plan that’s right for you. With one phone call or consultation, you will have a Medicare plan you can call your own.

How can we help you?