Timing can be critical with an impending Medicare decision. Case in point. We had a referral to us yesterday that is turning 66 this month. He said “I’m ready to do Medicare now”. After listening to his story, he said that last year – as he was approaching age 65 – he was “hounded” by agents and finally let two gentlemen into his home to talk about Medicare. He said that he “didn’t like them” and said he had decided to stay with the coverage that he had.
Bad part? Well, he didn’t proceed to get new and better for him advice from someone he could trust. So, he stayed with his ACA policy. A solo, high deductible plan in his own name. No employer coverage, his own policy.
Fast forward a year when he becomes “ready for Medicare”. Well, he’s past his IEP (his own initial election period), he has no SEP (special election period such as leaving group coverage at work) and now he has to go to the GEP (general enrollment period because you missed the other two!) How’s that for acronym’s and crazy timing.
What does that really mean, actually? Unfortunately, it means that he now has to wait until January 1, 2019 (it’s May, 2018!) to file for his Part B benefit. And, it won’t be effective until July 1, 2019. And, he’ll be penalized for not having had Part B for two full years because he was eligible in 2017. That’s a 20% surcharge on Part B. For life. Seriously, for life.
This person had no one helping him along the way and will pay the price, financially. Remember that as you near age 65, you have a decision to make re: Medicare. Does it mean you should or have to sign up? Nope. It just means that you need guidance and some help running through all of the scenarios and deciding what makes sense for you.
Joanne Giardini-Russell is a Medicare Nerd & the owner of Giardini Medicare, helping people throughout Metro Detroit and the country transition to Medicare successfully. Contact Joanne at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 248-871-7756.