You have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty.
This period will run whether or not you choose COBRA. If you
choose COBRA, don’t wait until your COBRA ends to enroll in Part B. If you don’t enroll in Part B during the 8 months, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty
. You won’t be able to enroll until the next General Enrollment Period and you will have to wait before your coverage begins. See When Can You Sign Up for Medicare Part A and Part B?
You may be able to get COBRA coverage, which continues
your health insurance through the employer’s plan (in most cases for only 18 months) and probably at a higher cost to you.
- If you already have COBRA coverage when you enroll in Medicare, your COBRA will probably end.
- If you become eligible for COBRA coverage after you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you must be allowed to take the COBRA coverage. It will always be secondary to Medicare (unless you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)).
I have TRICARE
If you have Part A and TRICARE (insurance for active-duty military or retirees and their families), you must have
Part B to keep your TRICARE coverage. However, if ou’re an active-duty service member, or the spouse or dependent child of an active-duty service member, the following applies to you:
- You don’t have to enroll in Part B to keep your TRICARE coverage while the service member is on active duty.
- Before the active-duty service member retires, you must enroll in Part B to keep TRICARE without a break in coverage.
- You can get Part B during a special enrollment period if you have Medicare because you’re 65 or older, or you’re disabled.
- You don’t need to re-enroll in TRICARE each year. Your coverage will continue as long as you have Part B.