When we reach age 65 almost all of us qualify for Medicare coverage. Which parts, if any, we need to enroll in depends on our employment status.
Those of us who are covered on plans with companies which have at least 20 employees are not as pressed to enroll in the various parts of Medicare as everyone else. Coverage on 20+ employee plans falls primarily on the shoulders of the insurance company selected by our employers. Medicare will coordinate for bills not covered, but there is no need to enroll in Medicare part B and to pay the premium for that. In fact, enrollment in Medicare part B before the required time can cause various difficulties later when we come off our employer-based plans.
Those of us who are covered on plans with companies which have less than 20 employees need to be careful that we enroll properly in Medicare or we will find ourselves unexpectedly responsible for claims. Most insurance companies will coordinate with Medicare coverage, but they will not be the primary carrier. The private insurance carrier will only pay the balance of what Medicare does not cover so without appropriate Medicare part A & B coverage in place we will be left with the lion’s share of the costs of our care.
So what do we do if we failed to enroll in Medicare part B when we were supposed to?
Right now we are able to enroll and our coverage will become effective on July 1. If we miss this late enrollment period (from January 1 through March 31) we will have to wait until the first quarter of next year and our coverage will become effective on July 1 of that year. Let’s be careful not to discover our mistake after March 31 of any year because the wait to get enrolled can be 15 months long.
There are many details that apply to Medicare coverage and we at CDA Inc. would be happy to help get answers that you may need. Contact us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. today – we are here to help YOU!