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your coverage will begin the first day of the month following your enrollment.

It’s important to note that if your group coverage ends, or if your employment ends, during your initial enrollment period, you will not be granted a special enrollment period. This is because Medicare will assume that you will enroll as you would normally. The special enrollment period is designed to benefit only those who don’t use their initial enrollment period because they have continuing health care coverage through their employer.

Should you not take advantage of your special enrollment period, you will have to wait to enroll until the next general enrollment period begins. By enrolling then, you will be subject to the 10-per- cent surcharge, as you would have been under normal circumstances. The privilege afforded to you is only done so during the eight-month special enrollment period, or while your group health coverage is in force.

People who are receiving social security disability benefits and are covered under their employer’s group health plan, or a family member’s group health plan, also have the special enrollment period and premium rights that are extended to those workers and spouses over the age of 65.

Special Enrollment Period and Medigap Insurance When considering whether or not to enroll in Medicare Part B cover- age, you will need to think about how it will affect your eligibility for Medigap insurance policies. If you enroll in Part B at or after age 65, you will trigger a one-time “Medigap open enrollment period.” But if you enroll in Part B while still covered by a group health plan, you may not need a Medigap policy. Your group health plan would be the primary payer for any health or medical bill claims, while Medicare would be the secondary payer. After your group plan coverage ends, you may find that you need a Medigap policy, but are unable to pur- chase one because your open enrollment period has expired.

Therefore, it may be advisable to delay enrolling in Part B until your employer-provided group health plan is about to end, because you will be able to optimize your health coverage. During the open enrollment period, you will be able to purchase any Medigap plan

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