Age 65 is a milestone birthday for many reasons, including the eligibility to receive Medicare. This coverage is designed to be affordable and comprehensive for aging Americans.
Signing up for Medicare in Texas may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be!
You may be automatically enrolled if you’re already receiving Social Security. If you’re not, it’s important to sign up as soon as you’re eligible to avoid any penalties.
From there, you have options for coverage. Here’s what to know.
When should I enroll for Medicare in Texas?
If you’re receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B once you turn 65. Otherwise, signing up for Medicare in Texas is allowed in two enrollment periods:
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
This begins on the 1st of the month that is 3 months before your 65th birthday.
For example, if your birthday is in September, your IEP starts June 1. (If your birthday is on the 1st, the IEP starts on the 1st of the month 4 months before your birth month to give you more time.)
The IEP ends in the 3rd month after your birth month, which would be December for September birthdays.
You must sign up for Medicare during your IEP if you:
- have no other health insurance
- have purchased your own plan via the Healthcare Marketplace
- have COBRA coverage from employer-sponsored insurance
- have retirement or veterans’ benefits
- have coverage through your domestic partner’s employer-sponsored insurance
If you don’t enroll during your IEP, you may be charged a penalty. It’s a good idea to enroll before your 65th birthday so that coverage can start on that day. Otherwise, you may not have coverage in time.
A Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
A Special Enrollment Period kicks in if you have employer-sponsored health insurance and would like to delay enrolling in Medicare. An SEP lasts 8 months after your current coverage ends.
However, your IEP trumps your SEP, so if you retire during your IEP, you may not have 8 months to enroll.
If you’re planning to retire when you turn 65, it’s better to sign up for Medicare before your 65th birthday.
The General Enrollment Period
If you don’t sign up for Medicare within your Initial Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment, you can always enroll during the General Enrollment Period, which is January 1 to March 31 of each year.
Note that your coverage will not start until July 1, though.
Do I need to sign up for Medicare at 65 if I’m still working?
If you’re not retiring at age 65 and you have employer-sponsored health insurance, you may not want Medicare as it would increase your coverage costs.
In these cases, you can generally delay enrollment until your Special Enrollment Period, which runs 8 months starting the month after your retirement begins or your current coverage ends.
However, take note that small employers will probably not pay for coverage because Medicare becomes your primary payer.
Since Medicare Part A is free, it makes sense to go ahead and enroll in that before you turn 65. This will ensure that you’re covered.
If you’re signing up for Medicare in Texas and you want prescription coverage (Part D) but aren’t sure you can afford it, you may be eligible for the Low-Income Subsidy.
Is it Mandatory to Sign Up for Medicare at Age 65?
As you see, it’s often a good idea to enroll in Medicare before you turn 65. But are you required to do it?
If you have employer-sponsored coverage, you can delay it, although you probably want to go ahead and sign up for Medicare Part A. You can sign up for Parts B, C, and/or D later.
However, if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you must enroll in Part A, and in fact, you’ll be automatically signed up for both Part A and B (although you can decline Part B.)
Part A costs nothing if you’ve worked at least 40 quarters, and it can help cover your healthcare expenses where employer-sponsored coverage does not.
Note that if you are not receiving Social Security but you don’t enroll by age 65 and you retire, you’ll be penalized. These penalties are tacked onto your Medicare premium whenever you do enroll — and they don’t expire. That’s why signing up for Medicare Part A is always a good idea.
Get Expert Guidance for Your Medicare Coverage Today
Still confused about signing up for Medicare in Texas?
Understandable — it’s complicated!
At Coverage2Care, our team of licensed Texas medicare agents will be happy to answer any of the questions you still have about signing up for Medicare.
Turning 65 doesn’t have to be stressful! We’ll even help you compare top insurance plans so you get the right coverage at the best price for you. All at no cost to you.