Signing up for Part A

Signing up for Part A can be different than signing up for Part B for a few reasons. Part A is generally “premium-free” for most people who have worked at least 10 years or 40 quarters. Below is what states regarding signing up for Part A:

You can sign up for free Part A (if you’re eligible) any time during or after your Initial Enrollment Period starts. If you sign up within 6 months of your 65th birthday, your coverage will start at one of these times:

  • The first day of the month you turn 65
  • The month before you turn 65 (if your birthday is the first of the month)

After that, your coverage start date will go back (retroactively) 6 months from when you sign up.

Why is this important?

If you qualify for Part A, you don’t have to worry about a Late Enrollment Penalty. Here is an example:

65th Birthday – February 15

Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) – 7 month period around your 65th birthday would be: (November 1 – May 31)

You could miss the May 31st IEP deadline (which more importantly applies to Part B), and still enroll in Part A any time you want without a penalty.

Using February 15 as your 65th Birthday, see the following examples:

If you enrolled in Part A on July 20 (this is within 6 months of your 65th birthday) – Effective date will be February 1 (first day of your birthday month)

If you enrolled in Part A on October 20 (this is MORE than 6 months of your 65th birthday) – Effective date will be April 20 (retroactively 6 months from when you signed up for Part A).

*NOTE: One of the main reasons you would NOT want to sign up for Part A (when you’re first eligible for Medicare) – is when you are still working and contributing to an HSA plan. IRS does NOT allow you to contribute to an HSA plan while you are enrolled in Medicare Part A.

Reasons why you would want to get signed up for Part A as soon as you are Medicare eligible when turning 65

  • Your employer may require you enroll in Part A in order for your group health insurance to fully cover you after age 65. (Check with your employer benefits administrator).
  • You want a Part D Prescription drug plan because the drug coverage with your employer group insurance isn’t adequate.

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