Canceling Part B Because You Cant Afford The Premiums
If you dont have a job with creditable health care coverage but still dont want to pay Part B premiums, use caution. Without health insurance thats as good or better than Medicare, you could start racking up late-enrollment penalties the longer you go without coverage. If you decide to re-enroll in Part B later, these penalties could make your premiums even less affordable.
If you can’t afford your Part B premiums, consider other options before canceling your coverage. You can apply for Medicaid coverage if you’re in a low-income household or have few assets. Medicare also offers several savings programs, which help qualified individuals pay their Medicare expenses.
How Long Does It Take To Sign Up
That depends on the method you choose. It can take as little as 10 minutes to sign up online, a month or more by phone or, if you prefer to sign up in person, it will depend on how long it takes to get an appointment.
- Medicaid number, if applicable, with start and end dates.
- Start and end dates for group health insurance through your employer.
- Start and end dates of employment with the employer providing your group health plan.
Once your account is set up, you can start the Medicare application process here. Its unlikely that youll need to sign anything physically.
When youre finished applying online, youll get a confirmation number. Keep it handy and use it to check the status of your application through your My Social Security account. Social Security will let you know if more information is needed.4
Dont Register For Medicare Alone
If youre uncomfortable with applying for Medicare alone, we can help! Our services are completely free for you. If you would like an agent by your side when applying, contact us. We can walk you through setting up all your coverage, including Medicare, Medigap, Part D, and more.
Plus, when you use us to apply, you get unlimited support from our Client Service Team. That means if you have any issues with claims or appeals, we can help at no additional cost. You can compare rates online or give us a call today at the number above.
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Automatic Medicare Part B Enrollment
Some Medicare beneficiaries dont need to manually sign up for Medicare Part B. or have certain long-term disabilities. Youll likely be automatically enrolled in Medicare if you already receive Social Security benefits or are under 65 and have certain disabilities or conditions.
Learn more about your Medicare coverage by reading this Guide to Traveling on Medicare, and be sure to avoid these 10 Medicare Mistakes You Could Be Making.
Sign Up For Medicare Part B Online
For many people, signing up for Medicare Part B doesnt require you to leave the comfort of home. Please visit our Medicare Part B webpage at if:
- Youre enrolled in Medicare Part A.
- You would like to enroll in Part B during the Special Enrollment Period.
You can complete form CMS-40B at www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms-Items/CMS017339 and CMS-L564 at online.
You can also fax the CMS-40B and CMS-L564 to 1-833-914-2016 or return forms by mail to your local Social Security office. Please contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 if you have any questions.
Note: When completing the forms:
- State, I want Part B coverage to begin in the remarks section of the CMS-40B form or online application.
- If your employer is unable to complete Section B, please complete that portion as best you can on behalf of your employer without your employers signature.
- Submit one of the following types of secondary evidence by uploading it from a saved document on your computer:
- Income tax returns that show health insurance premiums paid.
- W-2s reflecting pre-tax medical contributions.
- Pay stubs that reflect health insurance premium deductions.
- Health insurance cards with a policy effective date.
- Explanations of benefits paid by the GHP or LGHP.
- Statements or receipts that reflect payment of health insurance premiums.
Please let your friends and loved ones know about this online, mail, or fax option.
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When Can I Enroll In Medicare If I Do Not Qualify For Retirement Benefits:
If you are not eligible for retirement benefits from Social Security or the RRB, you will not be automatically enrolled into Original Medicare. However, you can still sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B during your IEP. You may not be able to get premium-free Medicare Part A, and the cost of your monthly Part A premium will depend on how long you worked and paid Medicare taxes. You will still have to pay a Medicare Part B premium.
When To Enroll In Medicare If I Am Receiving Retirement Benefits:
If youre already collecting Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security retirement benefits when you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B if you sign up for Medicare Part B at the time you sign up for retirement benefits.
If you live outside of the 50 United States or D.C. , you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A, but will need to manually enroll in Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B Enrollment Avoiding The Part B Penalty
There are a few situations when you may be able to delay Medicare Part B without paying a late-enrollment penalty. For example, if you were volunteering overseas or if you were living out of the country when you turned 65 and werent eligible for Social Security benefits, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when you return to the United States. The length of your SEP will depend on your situation. If you arent sure if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, call Medicare to confirm at 1-800-633-4227 , 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Have more questions about Medicare coverage? You can talk to one of eHealths licensed insurance agents youll find contact information below.
Medicare information is everywhere. What is hard is knowing which information to trust. Because eHealths Medicare related content is compliant with CMS regulations, you can rest assured youre getting accurate information so you can make the right decisions for your coverage. Read more to learn about our Compliance Program.
Medicare Part B Enrollment: How Do I Get Medicare Part B
To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a United States citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years and 65 years or older. You can also be eligible for Medicare before 65 if youve been receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least two years, or if you have end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Like other parts of Medicare, there are rules concerning when youre eligible and when you can sign up for coverage. If youre already receiving retirement benefits before you turn 65, you may be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B the month that you turn 65. Youre also automatically enrolled in Medicare if youve been receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least two years youll be automatically enrolled in the 25th month of disability benefits. Those who qualify for Medicare because of end-stage renal disease must manually sign up for Part B.
You can also sign up for Medicare Part B during the following periods:
You can enroll in Medicare Part B through Social Security in the following ways:
- Online at SSA.gov. If youre not yet ready to apply for retirement benefits, you can apply for Medicare only.
- In-person at a local Social Security office.
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Your Medicare Special Enrollment Period
If your employer has at least 20 employees and youre still working and covered under that plan when you turn 65, you can delay your enrollment in Medicare . In that case, youll get an eight-month special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare if and when you leave your job or your employer stops offering coverage. It will start the month after you separate from your employer, or the month after your group health coverage ends whichever happens sooner.
Sign up during those eight months, and you wont have to worry about premium surcharges for being late. And the eight-month special enrollment period is also available if youre delaying Part B enrollment because youre covered under your spouses employer-sponsored plan, assuming their employer has at least 20 employees.
But note that in either case, it has to be a current employer. If youre covered under COBRA or a retiree plan, you wont avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty when you eventually enroll, and you wont have access to a special enrollment period to sign up for Part B youll have to wait for the general enrollment period instead.
Status Of Medicare Advantage And Part D
A Medicare Advantage, or Part C, plan is administered by a private health insurance company that contracts with Medicare.
You can check the status of a Medicare Advantage plan application by contacting the private insurer who administers your plan.
A Medicare Part D plan provides prescription drug coverage. Like Medicare Advantage, Part D plans are administered by private insurance companies.
To check your application status, contact the member services department of your Part D plan for more information.
You can also ask your pharmacy to check the status of your Part D enrollment by sending a test claim to the company.
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How To Sign Up For Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans: When Can I Enroll
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are voluntary, additional coverage that helps fills the gaps in coverage for Original Medicare. The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan is during your individual Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is the six-month period that begins on the first day of the month you turn 65 and have Medicare Part B. If you decide to delay your enrollment in Medicare Part B for certain reasons such as having health coverage based on current employment, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period will not begin until you sign up for Part B.
During your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you have a guaranteed-issue right to buy any Medigap plan sold in your state. This means that insurance companies cannot reject your application for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan based on pre-existing health conditions or disabilities. They also cannot charge you a higher premium based on your health status. Outside of this open enrollment period, you may not be able to join any Medigap plan you want, and insurers can require you to undergo medical underwriting. You may have to pay more if you have health problems or disabilities.
Do you have more questions? Connect with any of our licensed insurance agents to discuss a Medicare plan that may be right for you.
NEW TO MEDICARE?
How To Sign Up For Medicare Advantage: When Can I Enroll
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is another way to receive Original Medicare benefits and is offered through private insurance companies that have contracts with Medicare. At minimum, all Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same Medicare Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans also include additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage. You must have Original Medicare, Part A and B, to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan through a private insurer.
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during two enrollment periods, the Initial Coverage Election Period and Annual Election Period.
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When To Enroll In Medicare If I Am Receiving Disability Benefits:
If you are under 65 and receiving certain disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, after 24 months of disability benefits. The exception to this is if you have end-stage renal disease . If you have ESRD and had a kidney transplant or need regular kidney dialysis, you can apply for Medicare. If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , you will automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare in the same month that your disability benefits start
How To Check Your Medicare Application Online
If you applied for Medicare online, you can check the status of your application through your Medicare or Social Security account. You can also visit the Check Enrollment page on Medicare.gov and find information about your enrollment status by entering your:
- ZIP code
- Medicare Part A effective date
You can also check the status of your application by visiting or calling a Social Security office.
You can ask your pharmacy to check the status of your Medicare Part D enrollment by sending a test claim.
You can also call the Member Services department of your Medicare Part D plan.
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I Want To Sign Up For Only Part A Or Both Part A & Part B
Once youre eligible to sign up for Medicare , you have 2 options:
Once you sign up , youll get a welcome package with your Medicare card.
How To Choose A Medicare Advantage Plan
If you’re interested in a Medicare Advantage plan, rather than Original Medicare, you can choose from one of the following:
- Private Fee-for-Service plans
- Special Needs Plans
Less common types of Medicare Advantage plans include HMO Point of Service plans and Medicare Medical Savings Accounts plans. The main difference between all these plans is in whether you’re able to see out-of-network providers, whether a referral is required to see a specialist, and how much you’ll pay.
When comparing Medicare Advantage plans, you’ll want to consider what doctors are available, how much you’ll pay out of pocket, and what benefits are included. Medicare offers a plan finder tool that can help you search for and compare Part C plans.
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Delaying Part B Coverage And Late Enrollment Penalties
You should enroll in Part A when youre first eligible near your 65th birthday, but some people may choose to delay Part B.
If you receive group health insurance at work or through your spouses employer you may be able to delay enrollment in Part B.
But once you stop working or that coverage ends, you must sign up for Part B within eight months. Otherwise, youll face a late enrollment penalty.
If you enroll in Part B after your group health insurance ends, you have options for how to apply.
You can do so online through an application on the Social Security website or by mail.
How to Sign Up for Part B by Mail After Employer Health Insurance Ends
When Is The Earliest You Can Sign Up
Youre first eligible for Medicare starting three months before you turn 65. That kicks off whats known as your Initial Enrollment Period.
The Initial Enrollment Period covers seven months: the three months before your 65th birth month, the month of your 65th birthday and the three months following your 65th birth month. For example, lets say your birthday is sometime in May. The three months before are February, March and April, and the three months following are June, July and August.
Keep in mind that the date you apply for Medicare will affect the start date of your coverage. To receive Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B beginning the first day of the month you turn 65, you must sign up during the three months before your 65th birth month. If you wait to sign up during your birth month or the next three months, your start date will be delayed by one, two or three months.
If your birthday is on the first day of your birth month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month. So, if, say, your birthday is September 1, your benefits will begin on August 1.
Original Medicare And Medicare Advantage
Original Medicare, a government program, consists of the combination of Part A hospital insurance with Part B medical insurance.
However, if you sign up for Medicare Part A only, then you do not qualify for other helpful benefits through Medicare health plans, which require having Original Medicare.
A central choice that Medicare beneficiaries make lies between getting health insurance through the government Medicare program, or through a private plan that provides equal or greater coverage than the government program.
Without both Medicare Part A and Part B, a person cannot get any benefits from Part C: Medicare Advantage plans, or the added protection of Medigap.
Medicare Advantage plans can offer more benefits than Original Medicare while possibly costing less. These Part C can even build in the prescription coverage of Part D.
Comparison shopping will help subscribers compare Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.