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Medicare Insurance Comparison

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When is open enrollment for Medicare Part B?

open enrollment
Just the essentials...
  • Medicare Part B has automatic enrollment for SSA and RRB recipients
  • Open enrollment for Part B is October 15 through December 7
  • New members can sign up during their initial enrollment periods
  • Passing on the first enrollment can cause a Part B late penalty

There are several periods in which qualified individuals can sign up for Medicare Part B Medical Insurance. The earliest occurs when one is nearly at the 65th birthday. Disabled persons can get Part B at any age for ALS and end-stage kidney disease.

Persons receiving RRB benefits or Social Security can get Medicare after 24 months. Part B combines with Part A to make Original Medicare coverage.

One must choose between the Medicare Advantage private plans and Original Medicare. When doing so, comparison shopping can help with private plans in Advantage, Medigap, and Prescription insurance.

Enter your zip on this page to compare all your Medicare coverage options for free!

Automatic Enrollment in Part B

Applicants get automatic enrollment in Part B after twenty-four months of Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board Benefits. Automatic enrollment in Part A and Part B would require action from beneficiaries that wish to stay in Part A only.

Part A comes premium free for most applicants that have worked more than ten years during their careers with FICA deductions. Part B requires payment of a premium from the start.

When Can Applicants Sign Up for Part B?

Medicare enrollment form

One can go to the Medicare website and find out the eligibility date for Medicare. This site and its calculator can provide the earliest time that one can sign up for Medicare.

The initial enrollment period is the best time to sign for Part B. The Initial Enrollment Period will avoid a lifetime fine for late sign-up for Part B. The initial enrollment period will lock the applicant into using Original Medicare for his or her needs. This is still the most popular choice among applicants.

Calculating the initial enrollment period begins with the individual’s birth date. The month of the 65th Birthday is the center of the period. It extends to the three months after, and it begins in the three months before.

The seven-month period is designed to permit a thoughtful review of healthcare needs and costs. The big choice for most applicants is between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare.

Open Enrollment and Other Sign Up Periods

Calendar with date circled

Open enrollment is the major sign-up period for Medicare. The CMS promotes it widely to get attention and help consumers make good selections.

Running from October 15 through December 7 of each calendar year, the open enrollment period is the time when every eligible person can add, switch, or change Medicare services. One can move to and from Medicare Advantage. Within Medicare Advantage one can choose prescription drug coverage options.

General enrollment runs from January 1 through March 31 of each calendar year. General Enrollment is the opportunity to do things missed by some applicants in Open Enrollment. It is an opportunity to add Part B for those that decided not or failed to do so in initial enrollment.

General enrollment is also an opportunity to make changes in Medicare services such as adding a Part D Prescription Drug policy.

Special enrollment periods help people that continue working past the age 65 birth date. Some continuing workers have an employer, union, or other insurance coverage. The loss of that job or employer coverage is a qualifying event for a Special Enrollment Period

The disenrollment period is from January 1 through February 14. During this time members of Medicare Advantage can switch to Original Medicare. They can also add a Part D drug plan to the Original Medicare before the February 14 deadline. They cannot do the reverse or other functions such as switching from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or changing from one drug plan to another.

Part B is not Qualified Health Insurance

Some parts of Medicare satisfy the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Part B Medical Insurance does not meet the requirements for qualified health insurance. It does not pass the minimum essential coverage test of Obamacare. The below-listed parts and combinations of Medicare satisfy the individual Mandate.

Signing Up for Part B Medical Insurance

A pen and glasses on a Medicare enrollment form

The timing of the Medicare Part B sign-up can make a big difference in costs and options. Late sign-up can cause a lifetime penalty of about ten percent paid monthly.

The initial enrollment period is the most advantageous time to sign up for Part B. One can sign up for Part B during the initial enrollment period and avoid late enrollment penalties.

General enrollment period runs from January 1, through March 31, of each calendar year.

Special enrollment periodsPart B has a premium, and because one must pay $120 per month or more, may people delay getting Part B. If they have coverage from an employer, union, group or other structure, they can save on the Part B Premium.

The rules allow a special enrollment period for those that lose their other coverage. This special eight-month window permits sign-up for Part B without penalty. SEP’s cover many status changes.

Living with Part B Medical Insurance

The combination of Parts A and B make the powerful protections of Original Medicare. One can use the entire range of doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare. There are no gatekeepers and no network restrictions.

Part B covers a wide range of outpatient services including hospice and skilled nursing care. It also covers about eighty percent of most benefits and leaves twenty percent for consumer payment.

Over the course of an insurance cycle, the deductible of $168 and the coinsurance can add up to a significant amount particularly for those that need a lot of services. The cure for the 20 percent payment may be the Medicare Supplement.

Medicare Supplement

Medicare catalog

Medicare Supplement is the gap insurance that complements Medicare Part B. Part B covers a wide range of outpatient services and Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies.

Part A also leaves some copays and coinsurance to the consumer. Medicare Supplement can pay these costs. Sold in letter-identified plans A- H, the states regulate these gap insurance plans. Some cover overseas travel.

Except for the initial open enrollment, sellers can qualify buyers and delay or set conditions for covering applicants with pre-existing conditions. Apart from adding Medicaid coverage, Medigap is the best solution to the gaps between Part A and Part B coverage and the amounts due for services.

Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment

Supplemental insurance coverage

The importance of the initial enrollment period for Medicare Supplement cannot be overstated. The insurance protection can be vital to many users that would not easily carry the twenty percent payment requirement in a season of heavier than expected medical services. The insurance is not guaranteed to every applicant and sellers can use medical underwriting to rate applicants.

The six-month period after an applicant has both Medicare Part A and Part B triggers an automatic acceptance. This initial enrollment has a guaranteed acceptance for Medicare Supplement. The sellers may not deny coverage nor delay it. They cannot use medical underwriting to add a higher price.

Dual Eligible and Medigap

Eligible written on chalkboard

Many people can qualify for Medicaid in addition to Medicare; called dual eligible they have some advantages. Medicaid can cover many if the gaps in payment from Medicare Part B. Further, Medicaid offers Extra Help and four subsidy programs for low-income Medicare users.

If one purchases a Medigap policy, and later qualifies for Medicaid; it is possible to put the Medigap on hold for up to 24-months. This freeze will preserve the right to have Medigap coverage when and if Medicaid ceases coverage within the 24-month window.

Enroll in Part B from October 15 through December 7

The annual open enrollment period is the open season for Part B. The best time to apply is during the initial application period. One can also qualify for a Special Enrollment period or use the General in the following January.

Comparison shopping will help consumers evaluate the private insurance plans in Part D Prescription Drugs and Medicare Supplement.

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MedicareInsurance.com is privately owned and operated. MedicareInsurance.com is a non-government asset for people on Medicare, providing resources in easy to understand format. The government Medicare site is www.medicare.gov.

This website and its contents are for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for experienced medical advice. We recommend consulting with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment, including choices about changes to medication, treatments, diets, daily routines, or exercise.

This communication’s purpose is insurance solicitation. A licensed insurance agent/producer or insurance company will contact you. Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not linked with or sanctioned by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

MULTIPLAN_GHHK5LLEN_Accepted Last Updated 3/18/2018