One thing you should know is that if you do not sign up for Medicare Part B, you will face penalties for late enrollment unless you are subject to a Special Enrollment Period. If you sign up after the allotted time, you may face delays in coverage and higher monthly premiums, which may increase 10 percent for every 12 months in which you were eligible but did not sign up.
Clearly, then, it is important to sign up for Medicare when you are eligible, around the time you turn 65. This is known as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), and it includes the three months before the month of your birth, your birth month, and the three months after.
Another thing to know is that when you enroll for Medicare is the date that will determine when your benefits start. If you sign up at any point in those first three months prior to your birth month, your Medicare benefits will begin on the 1st day of your birth month.
On the other hand, if you sign up during your birthday month, coverage will begin the 1st day of the month after your birth month.
Signing up the month after your birth month will mean coverage starts later, 3 months after your birth month. If you enroll during the second month after your birth month, you’ll have to wait 5 months, and if you wait until the very last month, you’ll get coverage 6 months after your birth month.
In addition to the allotted time around your birthday, consider signing up during the general enrollment period, which is typically from January 1 to March 31.
So, to summarize: if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you will not have to sign up for Medicare. If you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you will need to enroll in Medicare unless your employer can confirm that you do not.