Valley of the Sun, AZ

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Understanding Medicare

  January 07, 2019

By Rachael C. Li, Independent Healthcare Broker, Health Plans

Now that the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is behind us, what’s coming in 2019? The new year starts with the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) on January 1, 2019 and ends on March 31, 2019. During this period, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are allowed a one-time switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare and join a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. This Open Enrollment Period applies to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries only.

What if I turn 65 this year?
For those who are turning 65 years old in 2019, their Initial Enrollment Period begins three months prior to the month of their birthday and extends to three months after their birthday month. During this time, they can apply for Medicare Part A (Hospital) and Part B (Doctor’s Visit) at the Social Security Administration office, by mail, by phone, or online.

Part A Late Enrollment Penalty
Watch out for Late Enrollment Penalties(LEP). These penalties are assessed when an eligible person fails to apply when they are first eligible. Part A is normally “premium-free” if you have worked and paid Medicare taxes for a period of time. However, if you are not eligible for premium free Part A, you may be able to purchase Part A. If you do not purchase when eligible, your monthly premium may go up by 10 percent. For example, an eligible person who delays signing up for Part A and decide to sign up 2 years later will pay a 10 percent higher premium for four years.

Part B Late Enrollment Penalty
The Medicare Part B premium may go up 10 percent for each full 12-month period that you could have had Part B but did not sign up for it. So, a two-year (24 month) delay in signing up could cost you a 20-percent increase in the Medicare part B premium.
Part D Late Enrollment Penalty
The cost of Medicare Part D LEP depends on the lapse of creditable coverage. Currently, the penalty is calculated by multiplying 1 percent of the “National Base Beneficiary Premium”($35.02 in 2018) by the number of full,uncovered months that a person is eligible but failed to join a Medicare Drug coverage plan and went without creditable prescription drug coverage.

New Medicare card
Until recently, Medicare used Social Security numbers as your Medicare number. In an effort to help prevent fraud and add another layer of protection from identity theft, Medicare now uses a unique number to identify Medicare recipients. Protect your new Medicare Number just like your Social Security number. Only give your new Medicare Numbers to doctors, pharmacists, other healthcare providers, your insurer, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.

Still have questions about Medicare? Contact Rachael C. Li, an Independent Health Insurance Broker, by phone at
480-567-8696, or email Helping you make an educated decision in your health plan.

Back to Top

January 07, 2019

Add A Comment


Allowed HTML: <b>, <i>, <u>, <a>



Copyright © Agility Inc. 2020