Covered California Begins Sending Out Medicare Notices

By Wendy Barnett

Covered California announced that beginning in August 2016 a new notice will be sent out to enrollees who are approaching or are over their 65th birthday.  The notice is titled “You may now qualify for Medicare” and discusses important steps regarding the transition from Covered CA to Medicare. These steps include important information for enrolling in Medicare, cancelling your Covered CA plan, and where to get help with questions about Medicare.

It is important for Covered CA members to know what happens when you become eligible for Medicare (which usually occurs when you turn 65).

  • When eligible for Medicare, you are no longer eligible for a subsidy on Covered CA*
  • When eligible for Medicare, you will need to cancel your Covered CA plan
  • If you do not cancel your plan while eligible for Medicare, you may have to pay the subsidies back at tax time
  • For households with more than one member enrolled on Covered CA and one of the members goes to Medicare, it is common for the premium to go up considerably for the enrollees who remain on their Covered CA plan

Enrolling in Medicare

Contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to enroll in Medicare or to ask questions. To have a smooth transition over to Medicare with no gaps in coverage, know the following dates to enroll:

  • Your Initial Enrollment Period starts 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday
  • The General Enrollment Period for Medicare (for when you missed your initial enrollment period) is from January 1 through March 31 of each year

Be aware of possible penalties:

  • If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty to Medicare which can increase each year that you do not enroll
  • If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare and you remain on your Covered CA subsidized plan, you may have to pay back some or all of the subsidy for the period that you were eligible for Medicare, even though you were not enrolled in Medicare


Covered California Medicare


Canceling your Covered CA Plan

Contact Covered CA at 800-300-1506 to either cancel your plan or to report a change to end your participation in your plan (if other members of your household are enrolled and need to stay on your plan).To have a smooth transition over to Medicare, know when to enroll and when to cancel

  • Enroll in Medicare on time during your Initial Enrollment Period before you turn 65
  • Once you have confirmed when your Medicare will begin, then call to request the cancellation of your Covered CA plan to coincide with your Medicare start date. Your Covered CA plan will not cancel automatically and Covered CA cannot backdate your termination


*An exception where you could still receive a subsidy when you are Medicare eligible is when you are required to pay for Medicare part A and you do not enroll in Medicare. Most people do not fit into this exception because Medicare part A is usually free.


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