What happens if you miss the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period to enroll in health insurance? Make sure to add Part C or Part D by June 30.

For those turning 65 soon, when you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven month period to sign up. This is known as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). It begins three months before your 65th birthday, including the month you turn 65, and ends three months after you turn 65. At this time, you can apply for Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).

If you miss the IEP, then you can apply for Medicare from January 1 to March 31. It will become effective on July 1 of the same year. You will be able to use the benefits of Part A and Part B, but you must purchase a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan separately otherwise you may face a fine. If you apply for Medicare between January 1 and March 31, you must remember to add Part C (Medicare Advantage) or Part D (prescription drug coverage) from April 1 to June 30.

Leaving your company health insurance plan after 65? If you receive any health insurance related letters in the mail, make sure to read it carefully and to respond in a timely manner.

For those who are over 65 and still insured under their employer’s health insurance plan, they still have to apply for Medicare at the Social Security Administration. They can choose to apply for only Part A (hospital benefits) and continue to use the company’s group health insurance plan. Before the company health insurance plan expires, it’s recommended to apply for Medicare benefits as soon as possible. If you are uninsured for more than a certain period of time, you will be fined. Individuals whose company health insurance has been terminated after the age of 65 need to process and handle all health insurance related letters promptly.