When can I Enroll in Part B With Previous Enrollment Delays?

If you declined Medicare Part B or delayed enrolling in it because you were covered by insurance through the current employment of yourself or your spouse (or, in some cases, certain family members if you are eligible for Medicare due to disability), you may be able to use the Part B Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

To use Part B SEP, you must meet two criteria

  1. You must have insurance from current work (from your job or your spouse’s job, or, in some cases, certain family member’s job) or have had such insurance within the past eight months.
  2. And, you must have been continuously covered by job-based insurance or Medicare Part B since becoming eligible for Medicare, including the first month you became eligible for Medicare.
    • Note: You can have no more than eight consecutive months without coverage from either Medicare or insurance from current work. You are ineligible for the Part B SEP after going for more than eight months without Part B or job-based insurance.

The effective date of your Part B coverage depends on when you use the Part B SEP:

  • If you are still covered by insurance through current employment, or if it is the first full month after that coverage ends, you can choose whether Medicare Part B will become effective either:
    • The month you enroll, or
    • Any of the three months after the month you enroll.
  • If you use the Part B SEP in the second month, or later, after your coverage ends, Medicare Part B will become effective the month after the month when you enroll.

Note: If you are eligible for premium-free Part A because you or your spouse have at least 40 calendar quarters or work in any job where you paid Social Security taxes in the United States, you can sign up for Part A at any time and will not have a late enrollment penalty for delaying enrollment. Many people are eligible for premium-free Part A. Many also choose to enroll when they first become eligible, even if they are delaying Part B because they do not have to pay a premium. If you are not eligible for premium-free Part A, you can use the Part B SEP to sign up for Part A, too.

Read More: When can I Enroll Medicare if I missed IEP and cannot use Part B SEP?
Learn About: When Can I Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
Return to: Medicare In-Depth

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