UNITED STATES─Toni: I need your help to enroll in Medicare because I will turn 65 on April 30th. On April 10th, I was laid off due to the current economic conditions. My employer benefits ended the day I was laid off.  I have no idea what to do!!

A friend recently gave me a Toni Says® newspaper article with your information and said I could email you regarding getting my Medicare started as quickly as possible. I am concerned that I will get the dreaded Medicare Part B penalty because I didn’t have Medicare start April 1.  I cannot get a straight answer as to what we need to do. Help me Please!! Mary Ann from The Woodlands area.

Mary Ann: Every day I am hearing from Americans who are losing their jobs due to these trying times with Coronovirus and downfall of the economy. Don’t fret, Mary Ann…. April is your birthday month and you can enroll anytime in April and your Medicare Part B will begin May 1. You do not have to wait until April 30 to enroll nor have you made a major mistake because your Medicare Part A and B did not begin on April 1.

Medicare has a special enrollment window called the enrollment effective date schedule, which is NOT mentioned in the Medicare and You handbook, but is discussed in my new Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition.

On page 5 of Chapter 1 in the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, there is a chart with a timeline explaining when and how to enroll when turning 65.

The official Medicare & You handbook, only discusses Medicare’s “Initial Enrollment Period” and does not go into detail.

Below is what you need to understand regarding Medicare’s effective date schedule:

  • Enrolling anytime 3 months before turning 65, your Medicare begins the first day of the month you turn 65. Since you, Mary Ann will turn 65 on April 30th of this year; you could have enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or B in January, February, or March (3 months prior) for an April 1 effective date. But you missed this window of opportunity and have other options.
  • Enroll in Medicare the month you turn 65 which is April, then your Medicare will begin 1 month after you sign up which is May 1. You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement without answering one health question because you are in your Medigap 6-month enrollment period.

Now the fun begins:

  • Enroll in Medicare 1 month after you turn 65, your Medicare will begin 2 months after you sign up. Enroll in May; Your Medicare Parts A and B begin August 1.
  • Enroll in Medicare 2 months after you turn 65, your Medicare will begin 3 months after you sign up. Enroll in June; Medicare will begin October 1.
  • Enroll in Medicare 3 months after you turn 65, your Medicare will begin 3 months after you sign up. Enroll Medicare in July your Medicare will begin November 1.

Mary Ann, your important 6-month Medigap/Medicare Supplement open enrollment application period begins on the 1st of the month, which you have enrolled in Medicare Part B and you do not have to answer one (1) medical question. There is a 6-month window to apply for any Medicare Supplement without health underwriting.

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in people terms, is having a $5 Toni Says® readers discount at www.tonisays.com. If you have any questions regarding this article or any Medicare issues reach out to Toni at 832-519-8664 or email at info@tonisays.com.

Written By Toni King