Author: Sherri VanArendonk
Enrollment in Medicare Part B can be difficult and lead to large fines if done at the wrong time. For example, if an individual fails to enroll, he or she must pay a late enrollment penalty (LEP) of 10% his or her monthly premium for life. James Sullivan, in an article published in the Journal of Accountancy, discusses how to maneuver the Part B enrollment process.
What does Medicare Part B cover?
Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical care such as: medical services, tests, and supplies used outside a hospital or skilled nursing care facility.
The 3 Enrollment Periods
|Enrollment Period||When Used||Period|
|Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)||When eligible individual turns 65.||Seven months long beginning three full months before the month in which an individual turns age 65. It ends three full months after the month of the individual’s 65th birthday.|
|Special Enrollment Period (SEP)||Any time after the IEP when an eligible individual loses coverage in an employer-provided group health plan.||Flexible: It can be used any time an eligible individual decides to terminate coverage in an employer-provided group health plan and his or her IEP is not available. Medicare Part B coverage begins the month following enrollment. If coverage is lost due to termination of employment or plan termination, the enrollment period is eight months.|
|General Enrollment Period (GEP)||When the IEP or the SEP is not available.||Jan. 1 through March 31 of each year. Medicare participation does not begin until July 1.|
Source: Medicare General Information, Eligibility, and Entitlement Manual, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The IEP leads to no penalty, but may lead to gaps in coverage. The SEP can only be used by someone who is losing employer-provided coverage. The GEP is used as a last resort and may lead to gaps in coverage and late penalties.
To read the full referenced article, click here. For assistance in navigating the Medicare Part B enrollment process, please contact Sherri VanArendonk at (231) 726-5898 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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