People With Medicare
Special Enrollment Period
For Part B:
You may have waited to sign up for Medicare Part B if you were working when you turned 65 and had health care coverage through your job or union, or your spouse's.
If you lose your health care coverage because you retire or lose your job or your spouse does, you can sign up for Part B later on. You will have 8 months.
If you wait longer, you may have to pay a penalty when you join.
Note: Usually when you lose your job or retire, your company must let you keep your job's health insurance. You would have to pay the entire premium. This is called continuation coverage, or COBRA. If you take COBRA before you sign up for Medicare, your COBRA ends when you get Medicare. If you get your Medicare first, you could have both Medicare and COBRA. This could cost a lot, so you will need to consider your options. You can get personal help to carefully review your options.
For Part D:You will get a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a Medicare drug plan when you lose your other drug coverage if:
- You did not enroll in Part D when you first got Medicare because you had
- Drug coverage through your job or your spouse's job OR
- Drug coverage through the Veterans Administration.
Certain events trigger other Special Enrollment Periods. Then you can enroll or switch plans in Part D. For example, you can switch plans if:
- You move out of the area your current plan serves, OR
- You enter, leave, or live in a nursing home, OR
- Your plan changes and no longer serves your area, OR
- You get Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug costs.
There may be other special situations where you can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to join or switch plans. You can get personal help to learn more.