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Understanding Medicare Open Enrollment

RL143 — Understanding Medicare Open Enrollment

On the Retirement Lifestyle Show, Eric Olson and Adrian Nicholson discuss Medicare's open enrollment. They go through the seven commonly asked questions about Medicare enrollment, how to get ready, and ways to avoid the lifetime penalties of late enrollment.

[01:20] Introduction

[02:39] Medicare Open Enrollment and Why It's Important

[04:10] What is Open Enrollment?

[07:00] Understanding Medicare Advantage Plan

[09:30] Benefits of Planning for a Medicare Supplemental Plan

[16:10] Late Enrolment Penalties

[19:17] Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement

[21:45] Medicare Medical Savings Account Explained

[24:25] What is a Health Savings Account?

[27:00] Health Plan Shopping Checklist

[32:00] The Average Cost of Medicare

[34:20] Medicare Special Enrolment Periods

[36:10] What to Look Out For When Choosing a Medicare Plan

[40:30] Parting Thoughts

For more links and the full show notes keep scrolling down!

Roshan Loungani can be reached at or at 202-536-4468.

Erik Olson can be reached at or 815-940-4652.

Adrian Nicholson can be reached at or at 703-915-8905.

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Full Show Notes:

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare is the health insurance program for adults 65 and older. Once you hit 65, you enjoy a seven-month period (three months before and after your birth month) when you can sign up for Medicare. The good news is that you don't have to settle on one plan for the rest of your life. If you're dissatisfied with the Medicare plan you choose, a window opens where you can make changes to your coverage each year. This window is what is called Medicare enrollment and runs from October 15 through December 7. During this time, you can join, switch, or drop a plan. Moreover, even if you're happy with your current plan, you might want to confirm whether it's the best fitting plan for next year.

The Medicare Late Enrollment Penalty

Three months before you celebrate your 65th birthday, you'll receive information in the mail about your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). And as mentioned earlier, you have a 7-month window to enroll in the program or risk penalties that last your whole life. So, if you don't have another form of creditable health coverage past your 65th birthday, you may be looking at some penalties. For example, in Part A of Medicare, you'll pay a 10% premium increase penalty that lasts twice the number of years you went without coverage. So, if you went without coverage for two after your 65th birthday, you'd have to pay the penalty plus your regular premium for four years.

All opinions expressed by podcast hosts and guests are solely their own. While based on information that they believe is reliable, neither Arete Wealth nor its affiliates warrant its completeness or accuracy, nor do their opinions reflect the opinion of Arete Wealth. This podcast is for general informational purposes only, and should not be regarded as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Before making any decisions, consult a professional.

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