Recent retirees and seniors who are making changes to their heathcare coverage have a deadline approaching - the Medicare Part B enrollment period. Any person over 65 that doesn't currently carry Medicare benefits must sign up for the program by March 31 in order to avoid potential registration penalties or waiting until the 2013 enrollment period.
Medicare coverage can begin on a person's 65th birthday, and the Social Security Administration recommends filing for benefits up to three months before that date for those who choose the program as part of their healthcare plan. Anyone 65 or older who didn't elect Part B coverage when eligible, however, should sign-up during the annual January 1 to March 31 enrollment.
Those who are about to or recently reached eligibility age may be able to defer the choice until after the end of the month, as the Administration provides a three-month grace period following the month in which a person turns 65. In other words, a birthday anytime in the month of March means enrollment extends through the end of June.
Although coverage can still be elected outside of the sign-up window, waiting until after March 31 may result in a higher monthly premium for Part B benefits.