Many people are signed up for Medicare automatically when they reach 65 years of age. However, if you are not automatically enrolled into the program, you may be able to postpone enrollment.
One common reason for postponing Medicare enrollment is that applicants want to stay on their group insurance, which they may be getting through their employer.
If this is the case, then you may postpone enrollment while being able to sign up for Medicare outside of your initial enrollment period and the general open enrollment period. This is called a special enrollment period.
You must have group insurance, such as from your employer, to take advantage of a special enrollment period. Additionally, you or your spouse must have been working.
You have 8 months to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B following a special qualifying circumstance.
This period starts:
· The month after your or your spouse’s employment ends.
· The month after your employer group insurance ends.
If you were out of the country doing volunteer work, you may qualify for a 6-month special enrollment period. To qualify, you must have volunteered for a tax-exempt non-profit organization for at least 12 months.
Usually, you are exempt from delay penalties if you enroll after one of the above special circumstances. You should enroll in Part A when you first meet requirements if you qualify for premium-free coverage.
The initial and special enrollment periods are not the only times you are able to sign up. Each year, Medicare has times when you can apply for coverage.