When Can You Sign Up If You Missed The Initial Enrollment Period
If you didnt sign up when you were first eligible and you dont have current healthcare coverage elsewhere , youll have to wait for the next General Enrollment Period which runs each year from January 1 through March 31.
Your coverage will then begin in July of that year, and you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty on your Medicare Part B premium for as long as you have Part B coverage. Your premium will go up by 10% for every 12-month period you werent enrolled.
Working Past 65 Here’s When And Why You Should Enroll In Medicare
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If youre not planning to retire anytime soon but youre about to turn 65, you might be wondering if you should sign up for Medicare. Everyones circumstances are different, but in general, the decision to enroll will depend on the size of your employer and the value youre getting from your workplace health insurance.
I Turn 65 In A Few Months When Should I Sign Up For Medicare
En español | If you already receive Social Security benefits, Social Security will automatically sign you up for Medicare Part A and Part B though you can decline Part B enrollment if you want to. Otherwise, you need to apply for Medicare. The best time to do that depends entirely on your own situation. Broadly, there are two options:
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How Do You Apply By Phone
Call 772-1213 or TTY 325-0778 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Monday through Friday.5 Keep in mind that this process takes longer because forms have to be mailed to you, which you then complete and send back. At peak times, applying for Medicare by phone could take a month or more.
If you worked at a railroad, you can enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board at 772-5772 or TTY 751-4701, 9AM 3:30PM, Monday Friday.
If The Employer Has 20 Or More Employees
As long as you have group health insurance from an employer for which you or your spouse actively works after you turn 65, you can delay enrolling in Medicare until the employment ends or the coverage stops , without incurring any late penalties if you enroll later. When the employer-tied coverage ends, youre entitled to a special enrollment period of up to eight months to sign up for Medicare.
Note that “active employment” is the key phrase here. You cant delay Medicare enrollment without penalty if your employer-sponsored coverage comes from retiree benefits or COBRA by definition, these do not count as active employment.
Nor does it count if you work beyond 65 but rely on retiree benefits from a former employer. You must be actively working for the employer that currently provides your health insurance in order to delay Medicare enrollment and qualify for a special enrollment period later on.
The law requires a large employer one with at least 20 employees to offer you the same benefits that it offers to younger employees . It is entirely your choice whether to:
- accept the employer health plan and delay Medicare enrollment
- have the employer coverage and Medicare at the same time
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Paying For Medicare Without Social Security
As we noted above, it is possible to get Medicare if you are not receiving Social Security benefits. Most people who are receiving Social Security benefits will be eligible for premium-free Part A, but others who receive Part A or Part B coverage will still have to pay premiums.
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, then these premiums are taken out of the Social Security check you receive every month. If you arent receiving Social Security benefits, then you will need to pay these premiums each month, just like ordinary insurance premiums.
Medicare Eligibility Age Chart
Most older adults are familiar with Medicare and its eligibility age of 65. Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B are available based on age or, in some cases, health conditions, including:
- Age 65 or older
- End-Stage Renal Disease
Individuals under 65 and already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits for 24 months are eligible for Medicare. Still, most beneficiaries enroll at 65 when they become eligible for Medicare.
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What If Your Medicare Card Didnt Arrive
If youre expecting to receive a Medicare card but havent yet received one three months before your 65th birthday, the first thing to do is to not worry. Medicare sends out hundreds of thousands of cards per year without issue. Its possible for the card to be delayed or for there to be an error. To confirm whether a Medicare card is heading your way, check with your local Social Security office to make sure that youre enrolled.
Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are sold by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. All people new to Medicare have a seven-month window to enroll in a PDP three months before, the month of and three months after their Medicare becomes effective. The month you enroll affects the PDPs effective date. All people with Medicare are eligible to enroll in a PDP however, unless you are new to Medicare or are entitled to a Special Enrollment Period, you must enroll or change plans during the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. There is a monthly premium for these plans. If you have limited income and assets/resources, assistance is available to help pay premiums, deductibles and co-payments. You may be entitled to Extra Help through the Social Security Administration. To apply for this benefit contact SHIIP at 1-855-408-1212 or the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or www.socialsecurity.gov.
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If You Are Younger Than Age 65 With A Disability
If you are younger than age 65 and receive disability benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance or Railroad Retirement, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B in the 25th month of your disability payments, or sooner if you have either end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . You will need to to cover your prescription drug benefits.
During the 24th month of your SSDI payments, Medicare will send you an initial enrollment package containing general information, a questionnaire and your Medicare card.
If you want both Medicare Part A and Part B , simply sign your Medicare card and keep it in your wallet.
To Qualify For Medicare You Need To Get Disability Benefits From:
- Social Security
- Railroad Retirement Board
If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.
If you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.
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Medicare Part B Premiums And Deductibles
In 2021, the Medicare Part B monthly premium is $148.50 if you earn up to $88,000 as a single income tax filer or $176,000 as a married filer.
The Part B deductible is $203 for 2021. Please note that premiums increase in tiers at higher income levels.
For 2022, the Part B monthly premium is $170.10 if you earn up to $91,000 as a single income tax filer or $182,000 as a married filer. The 2022 deductible is $233 for the year.
When Does Deferring Medicare Make Sense
If youre thinking about deferring Medicare, discuss the pros and cons with your current insurer, union representative, or employer. Its important to know how or if your current plan will work with Medicare, so you can choose the most comprehensive overage possible.
No matter your reasons for deferring, you must enroll in Medicare within 8 months of losing your current coverage. If you delay, you will incur penalties that may last for the entire duration of your Medicare coverage.
Next, well discuss some of the common reasons you may be thinking about deferring Medicare.
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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
Do You Automatically Get A Medicare Card When You Turn 65
Medicare will enroll you in Part B automatically. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your 65th birthday. If youre not getting disability benefits and Medicare when you turn 65, youll need to call or visit your local Social Security office, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
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Medicare Eligibility Before Age 65
If youre under 65 years old, you might be eligible for Medicare:
- If you receive disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months in a row
- If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- If you have end-stage renal disease . ESRD is permanent damage to the kidneys that requires regular dialysis or a kidney transplant
If youre eligible for Medicare because of any of these circumstances, you may receive health insurance through Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B , which make up Original Medicare. Your enrollment in Medicare may or may not be automatic, as explained below.
How To Apply Online For Just Medicare
If you are within three months of turning age 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later. It takes less than 10 minutes, and there are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required.
To find out what documents and information you need to apply, go to the .
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Signing Up For Medicare Part B At 65 If Youre Still Working
If youre still working at age 65 and youre not claiming Social Security benefits, the government will not automatically enroll you in Medicare Part B, which covers doctors visits, diagnostic tests, medical equipment, ambulance transportation, and mental health care.
If you work for a company with 20 or more employees and youre enrolled in your employers health insurance plan, you dont have to enroll in Part B. You also might not want to because it isnt free.
Already Enrolled In Medicare
If you have Medicare, you can get information and services online. Find out how to .
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and you want to enroll in Part B, please complete form CMS-40B, Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B . If you are applying for Medicare Part B due to a loss of employment or group health coverage, you will also need to complete form CMS-L564, Request for Employment Information.
You can use one of the following options to submit your enrollment request under the Special Enrollment Period:
- State I want Part B coverage to begin in the remarks section of the CMS-40B form or online application.
- If possible, your employer should complete Section B.
- If your employer is unable to complete Section B, please complete that portion as best as you can on behalf of your employer without your employers signature and submit one of the following forms of secondary evidence:
- Income tax form that shows 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.
Some people with limited resources and income may also be able to get .
What If Youre Covered By Employer Insurance
If you are still working or are still covered by your employers insurance, you can still apply for premium-free Part A, to use as your secondary insurance for hospital coverage. You can also apply for Part B while you are still covered by insurance from your employer, but only if this coverage ends before your Part B coverage begins.
For example, you enroll during the General Enrollment Period, from January 1 to March 31, if you are covered by your employers until July. This is because your Part B coverage will only begin on July 1.
Enrolling Under Age 65
There are a few conditions under which you can receive Medicare before you turn 65.
If you are disabled, and have been receiving Social Security or Railroad disability benefits for 24 months, then you will automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare on the 25th month of your disability benefits.
Children, widows and widowers qualifying for SSA benefits are also eligible to receive Medicare prior to age 65. However, this is only possible if the parent or deceased spouse was 50 years or older at the time of their death and worked for a long enough period to pay sufficient Medicare taxes.
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When Should I Enroll
There is a seven-month period when you can first enroll in Medicare. Its called the Initial Enrollment Period and it happens three months before the month you turn age 65, the month of your 65th birthday and the three months after. If your birthday is on the 1st of the month, your coverage can begin on the first day of the previous month.
If you are disabled and under age 65, there is a seven-month period surrounding the 25th month you begin receiving Social Security Disability payments. Enrollment time frames are different for people who become eligible because of end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrigs Disease .
Do You Automatically Get Medicare When You Turn 65
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Similarly, can I sign up for Medicare online?
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How do you apply for Medicare?
You can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B in the following ways:
How do you sign up for Medicare at age 65?
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Retiree Coverage Continuing Past Age 65 You’ll Still Need To Enroll In Medicare A And B
Some companies will not cut a retiree off completely at the age of 65, but instead continue to offer supplemental retiree benefits, which can be used in conjunction with Medicare . The supplemental retiree health benefits may include prescription drug coverage , doctor visits, and other outpatient health care. Medicare will be your primary coverage if you’re covered under a retiree health plan, with the plan offered by your former employer serving as secondary coverage.
If You Are Under Age 65 And Disabled:
If you are under age 65 and disabled, and have been entitled to disability benefits under Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months, you will be automatically entitled to Medicare Part A and Part B beginning the 25th month of disability benefit entitlement. You will not need to do anything to enroll in Medicare. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your Medicare entitlement date. , you get your Medicare benefits the first month you get disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.) For more information about enrollment, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security web site. See also Social Security’s Medicare FAQs.
For more information, see Medicare.gov
What Are Important Medicare Decisions
Applying for Medicare Parts A and B is the first step. Other decisions related to Original Medicare can be made in the same timeframe:
- Should you enroll in Medicare Part D, which will cover the cost of your medications?
- Should you buy Medicare Supplement to cover expenses that arent included in Original Medicare?
- Should you replace Original Medicare with Medicare Part C ?