A. We discussed the first common Medicare question here, now the second common and confusing Medicare question.
Should you sign up for Medicare Part B at the same time as Part A? The logic behind this question is simple - unlike Part A, you need to pay a premium for Part B, if you don't need the coverage, why waste the money?
But the problem is, the timing for enrolling in Part B is tricky and the stakes are high - late enrollment in Part B can cause a permanent premium increase!
Group Insurance Coverage
The single most important factor to consider: do you have employer group coverage? If not, then enrolling in Part B is a no-brainer, you should apply during your seven-month initial enrollment period!
But if you are covered under a group health plan based on current employment -- whether your own employer or a spouse's -- you may qualify for a special enrollment period SEP). You may delay enrolling in Part B until your group health coverage is terminated, and avoid the late enrollment penalty.
Special Enrollment Period
The SEP is an 8-month special period that starts the month after the end of either employment or the group health insurance coverage based on that employment -- whichever happens first.
Note that COBRA coverage does NOT qualify as employer coverage.