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 .
Who Does Not Have To Apply For Medicare
If you already receive Social Security benefits or Railroad retirement benefits before turning age 65, youll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You dont need to do anything or apply online.
Your red white and blue Medicare card will be mailed to you approximately 60-90 days before your effective date. Your Medicare card will have your name, Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number and coverage effective dates for Part A and Part B.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Your first chance to enroll in Medicare is around age 65 when you have a seven-month window to apply. During the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period, you can enroll in Original Medicare Parts A and B. You can look at plans or sign up at any time during the three months before, the month of, and the three months after your 65th birthday. Need coverage the month you turn 65? Sign up in the three-month window before your birthday.
Take a deeper dive in our related article about all-things Medicare Initial Enrollment Period.
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When Is The Best Time For Medicare Part D Enrollment
There are different times when you might qualify for Medicare Part D enrollment:
Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D Enrollment
Your Initial Enrollment Period occurs when you first become eligible for Medicare. For most people, eligibility happens when you turn 65. The IEP begins three months before the month you turn 65. It includes your birthday month and the three months following for a total of seven months. During that time, you can enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug plan or a Medicare Part C plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
Fall Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D Enrollment
Medicare also offers a Fall Open Enrollment Period every year that runs from October 15 to December 7. This period allows for Medicare Part D enrollment as well. You can also switch from one prescription drug plan to another during this time.
Special Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D Enrollment
Special Enrollment Periods or SEPs offer the chance for Medicare Part D enrollment when certain events happen in your life. Those events might include changing where you live or losing your current coverage. If your current plan changes its contract with Medicare or you have an opportunity to get other coverage, you might also qualify for an SEP.
Can I Apply For A Medicare Supplement Plan Online
Yes, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan online! With eHealths plan comparison tool, it only takes a few minutes to apply for a plan online. Just type your zip code in the box on this page and click the button to display a list of Medicare Supplement plans available in your area.
Please note that you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan anytime, but in some cases your application might not be accepted. Read more about Medicare Supplement insurance and when may be the best time to buy a plan.
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Applying For Medicare When You Have Large Employer Coverage
Medicare can coordinate with your employer insurance even if you or your spouse are still working. If you or your spouse are actively working at an employer with 20+ employees and you are covered by that insurance, Medicare will be secondary to the employer coverage.
In that case, you can choose whether to enroll in Medicare Part B or delay your enrollment into Part B until later. Your group health plan likely has coverage for medical services already built in, so delaying Part B enrollment can save you money until you retire from your job.
When to apply for Medicare varies for each person. Whats worse is that even though these rules exist, there are often workers at Social Security who will get them wrong. This can really affect you, so contact a Medicare insurance broker like Boomer Benefits for help. We have solved Medicare enrollment issues for our clients with plain facts in many conference calls with Social Security.
Lastly, if you are still working at 65, well evaluate the costs of your employer coverage compared to Medicare. If staying at your employer insurance makes more sense, we can help you decide whether to enroll in Parts A or B or both.
Please note, you will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period after 65 and will need to submit documentation when you apply for Medicare due to loss of employer coverage. The two documents include CMS form 40B and CMS form L564 which is your proof that you had creditable coverage during employment.
Which Medicare Parts And Plans Can I Apply For Online
You can get multiple parts of Medicare by applying online:
- Part A.Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. You can apply for Part A online using the Social Security website.
- Part B.Medicare Part B is medical insurance. You can apply for Part B and Part A on the same application. You can also apply for Part B online using the Social Security website if you already have Part A.
- Part C.Medicare Part C is sometimes called Medicare Advantage. You need to have Medicare parts A and B before you can enroll in Medicare Advantage. You can then enroll in a plan in your area using the Medicare website.
- Part D.Medicare Part D is prescription drug insurance. Just like Part C, youll need to be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B before you can pick a Part D plan. You can then enroll in a plan online using the Medicare website.
- Medicare supplement insurance .Medigap plans are optional coverage you can purchase to help cover the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare. You can apply for a Medigap plan online after youve enrolled in parts A and B.
So, your first step to getting any part of Medicare is to apply for original Medicare .
Once youre enrolled in original Medicare, you can shop for Part C, Part D, and Medigap plans. The plans available to you will depend on where you live, since many plans are only offered in specific cities, states, or regions.
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Explore Your Other Medicare Coverage Options
Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can explore additional coverage options.
You can decide to:
- Add a Medigap supplement insurance policy.
- Add a Part D prescription drug plan.
- Switch to a Medicare Advantage plan also known as Part C to replace your Original Medicare coverage.
Medicare Part D, Medigap and Medicare Advantage are all administered by private insurance companies that contract with CMS.
You can apply for these benefits online.
Use the Medicare Plan Finder tool to explore and compare plans in your area.
How To Sign Up For Medicare Online
- You can sign up for Medicare on your computer when you become eligible for coverage.
- There are several parts of Medicare to choose from, each offering a different level of health care coverage.
- You can only enroll in Medicare during certain times of the year. If you dont follow these deadlines, you may face penalties or delayed coverage.
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If Your Income Has Gone Down
If your income has gone down due to any of the following situations, and the change makes a difference in the income level we consider, contact us to explain that you have new information and may need a new decision about your income-related monthly adjustment amount:
- You married, divorced, or became widowed.
- You or your spouse stopped working or reduced your work hours.
- You or your spouse lost income-producing property because of a disaster or other event beyond your control.
- You or your spouse experienced a scheduled cessation, termination, or reorganization of an employers pension plan.
- You or your spouse received a settlement from an employer or former employer because of the employers closure, bankruptcy, or reorganization.
If any of the above applies to you, we need to see documentation verifying the event and the reduction in your income. The documentation you provide should relate to the event and may include a death certificate, a letter from your employer about your retirement, or something similar. If you filed a federal income tax return for the year in question, you need to show us your signed copy of the return. Use Form Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount Life-Changing Event to report a major life-changing event. If your income has gone down, you may also use Form SSA-44 to request a reduction in your income-related monthly adjustment amount.
How To Apply For Medicare Through Social Security
Apply online: The easiest way to complete the Medicare enrollment application is online at ssa.gov. Its convenient to sign up from home. You can start and stop the application and save your information. After you submit your application, youll get a receipt to print and keep. You can also check the status of your application.
Apply in person: Visit your local Social Security office. You can find the nearest office with the Social Security office locator. They recommend that you make an appointment.
Apply by phone: Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 .
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Scenario #: You Are Already Over Age 65 And You Already Have Both Parts Of Medicare Part A And Part B
If you are already over age 65 and looking to switch to Medicare as your primary insurance, either because you are retiring or losing some other type of coverage, you may find that you actually already have both parts of Medicare Part A and Part B. This would be true if either you were already receiving Social Security and did not let Medicare know that you did not want Part B when you turned 65 OR if you intentionally signed up for Medicare Part B even though you had other group insurance.
In these cases, you would not need to take any action. You can just start using your Medicare as your primary insurance once you other insurance ends.
NOTE: This is not ideal in most situations . Typically, Medicare Part A and B would duplicate coverage offered through a group health plan and you would not need to be paying for BOTH the group plan and Medicare itself. Additionally, enrollment into Part B initiates your enrollment window for Medigap coverage, so you would not want to sign up for Part B until you were ready to use Medicare as your primary coverage.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment happens every year from Jan. 1 to March 31. If youre enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to make changes, you can do one of these:
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan with or without drug coverage
- Go back to Original Medicare and, if needed, also join a Medicare prescription drug plan
Your new coverage begins on the first day of the month following the month you make a change and will be in effect for the rest of the year.
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Whos Eligible For Medicare Part B
Anyone whos eligible for Medicare is eligible for Part B, and thats anyone who is 65 or older, younger people with disabilities who have been receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits for 24 months and people with end-stage renal disease.3 Also, anyone who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrigs disease.
If youre not sure if youre eligible, try Medicares eligibility tool.
What Do I Do To Sign Up For Medicare
You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B effective the month you turn 65. If you do not receive Social Security benefits, then you will need to sign up for Medicare by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly/.
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Determine Whether You Need To Sign Up For Medicare
You are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B if:
If you already collect Social Security retirement benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. No further action is required.
Your coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65.
Even if you are automatically enrolled, you may also decide to:
- Sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan.
- Buy a Medigap supplement insurance policy.
- Switch to a Medicare Advantage plan.
When To Apply For Medicare
Medicare is separate from your application for Social Security income benefits. People age into Medicare at age 65, regardless of whether they are taking retirement income benefits yet. If you are a citizen age 65 or older and need medical insurance, you are entitled to enroll in Medicare. You can also qualify for Medicare early due to certain disabilities, having Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis , or End-Stage Renal disease and need a transplant or on dialysis.
Dont expect that Medicare will notify you of when its time to sign-up either. This can be especially important for those who live out of the country.
If you are already taking Social Security income benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65. Your card should arrive 1-2 months before you turn 65. This timeframe also applies to those who qualify early due to disability. However, you will not automatically receive Part B benefits if you live in Puerto Rico. This means you will need to apply for Part B even if you receive Social Security benefits before age 65.
If you are NOT yet taking retirement benefits, then you will need to submit a Medicare application yourself. The government expects for you to know when to enroll. Lets look at the timeline for when and how to register for Medicare.
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The Process To Apply For Medicare Online
Here well go through the steps to apply for Medicare online. The whole process for enrolling online is going to take about 10 or 15 minutes and youll need to have access to the internet.
This online enrollment were talking about is for Medicare only. If you also want to start your Social Security retirement benefits then you can apply at the same time you apply for Medicare.
When Can You Sign Up Outside Of The Initial And General Enrollment Periods
You could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and avoid the penalty for enrolling late. SEPs are typically granted if you or your spouse are still working when you turn 65 and you have group health insurance through an employer or union.
In that case, youre allowed to enroll in Part B at any time you have qualified group health coverage and youve turned 65. Once you no longer have coverage, you can enroll during the eight-month SEP period that starts the month after you lose the job or the coverage, whichever comes first.
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The Parts Of Medicare
Social Security enrolls you in Original Medicare .
- Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or limited time at a skilled nursing facility . Part A also pays for some home health care and hospice care.
- Medicare Part B helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.
Other parts of Medicare are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.
- Supplemental policies help pay Medicare out-of-pocket copayments, coinsurance, and deductible expenses.
- Medicare Advantage Plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B prescription drugs and additional benefits such as vision, hearing, and dental bundled together in one plan.
- Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.
Most people age 65 or older are eligible for free Medical hospital insurance if they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough. You can enroll in Medicare medical insurance by paying a monthly premium. Some beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay a higher monthly Part B premium. To learn more, read .
How Do I Know Im Enrolled In Medicare
After you apply for Medicare, Social Security will review and process your application. Theyll contact you if they need more information.
When youre approved for Medicare Part A and/or Part B, Social Security will send you a welcome packet that includes the following:
- Your confirmation letter
- Your red, white and blue Medicare ID card
- A Welcome to Medicare booklet that walks you through decisions you may have to make with your Medicare coverage
- The Medicare & You handbook
If youve applied for a private Medicare plan such as a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost, Medigap or Medicare Prescription Drug plan, when your enrollment is accepted youll get a separate confirmation letter and ID card.
Medicare helps pay for your health care costs and covers preventive care including a visit with your doctor each year. So once you get Medicare Part B, schedule your initial Welcome to Medicare visit with your doctor. And each year you get an Annual Wellness Visit with your doctor.
For more helpful tips, review this checklist, how to use Medicare your first year.