Medicare Special Enrollment for COVID-19

As the state’s insurance regulator, the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) is alerting Hoosiers over age 65 that there is a Special Enrollment Period for Part B of Medicare without penalties. The Special Enrollment Period is for those who were actively working and now seeking to enroll in Medicare because of job loss or retiring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once enrolled in Part B of Medicare, they will have a guarantee of Medicare supplement insurance and Part D drug coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Many people over the age of 65 who have been actively working had not enrolled in Medicare because they used their employer’s group health insurance instead. Now they are deciding that they would like to use Medicare but may need assistance enrolling in Medicare Part B and Part D drug coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan.

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselors are available to answer questions for consumers who need assistance enrolling in Medicare during the Special Enrollment Period, including:

1. How do I make the “switch” to Medicare?
2. How long will it take for Medicare coverage to start?
3. Will I have any penalties for not enrolling in Medicare when I was 65?
4. Will I have a guarantee of supplemental coverage for Medicare or will I have to answer health questions?
5. What is Medicare Advantage?
6. How will I know which Part D drug plan to pick?

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a program provided by the Indiana Department of Insurance. SHIP provides free, impartial health insurance counseling for people with Medicare. SHIP does not sell insurance. Certified Counselors will answer questions and can provide information on all Medicare options to help consumers decide on the options that work best for their situation. Call LifeStream to speak to a SHIP Counselor at 800-589-1121 or call the SHIP helpline at 1-800-452-4800 or visit www.medicare.in.gov.