Medicare has strict deadlines to sign up. Why you don’t want to miss them.

Key Points
  • There are about 62.4 million people on Medicare, the majority of whom are at least age 65, which is when you become eligible for coverage.
  • While some beneficiaries are automatically signed up, others may only partially enroll or take no action because they have qualifying coverage elsewhere.
  • Missing the deadlines that apply to your situation could result in negative consequences, including financial penalties and/or a period of having no coverage.

Medicare is often referred to as a maze. The various deadlines for signing up may have something to do with that.
While turning 65 makes you eligible for Medicare, not everyone will follow that.

While turning 65 makes you eligible for Medicare, not everyone will follow the same path to enrollment. Some beneficiaries are automatically signed up, while others may partially enroll or take no action until long after their eligibility age.

Regardless of which category you fall into, negative consequences could result from missing the deadlines that apply to your situation, including financial penalties and/or a period of having no coverage.

Roughly 62.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare, the majority of whom are age 65 or older. Basic Medicare consists of Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient care and medical equipment). Most people qualify for premium-free Part A because they have a long-enough work history of paying into Medicare through payroll taxes. Part B comes with a standard monthly premium, which is $144.60 for 2020.

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