However, if you’re covered by a large group health plan that you prefer to keep (for various reasons) then you don’t need to sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment period when you turn 65. I will say though that it is helpful later on to do the Medicare Part A activation only (it’s premium free) so that you at least know your Medicare number when the time comes for you to leave that group health coverage.
Once your initial enrollment period ends you may have the chance to sign up for Medicare during a special enrollment period. If you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment you have a special enrollment period to sign up for part A and/or Part B anytime as long as you or your spouse is working and you’re covered by a group health plan through your employer or union based and it’s larger than 20 employees insured.
You also have an eighth month special election period to sign up for part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times:
- The month after the employment ends.
- The month after group health insurance based on current employment ends
You won’t have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a special enrollment period such as the two examples written about in this article.
Cobra and retiree health plans aren’t considered coverage based on current employment. You are not eligible for a special enrollment period when these types of coverage end. Once you activate Medicare then the next step is to decide on your private insurance options that either accompany your original Medicare benefits or replace them such as Medicare Advantage plans. That’s where I come in to help you. My services are free to you because I’m compensated by the insurance companies that I choose to represent.