How Do I Sign Up For Medicare
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Youll be automatically enrolled in Medicare at age 65 if youre already receiving Social Security. If you arent receiving those benefits, you can enroll in one of three ways:
The online application typically takes less than 10 minutes. The Social Security Administration has suspended face-to-face service in local offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so no in-person visits are possible at this time. It’s planning to reopen some offices later in 2022, but most Medicare enrollment is quick and easy online.
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 Much Does Medicare Cost At Age 65
The standard premium for Part B modestly increases year over year. Part A costs also can increase, including the annual deductible and other coinsurance. Known as hospital insurance, Part A doesnt require a monthly premium as long as you have paid Medicare taxes through employment for at least 10 years.
Part B, known as medical insurance, typically pays 80% of the covered cost while you pay the deductible and then 20%.
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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.
Signing Up Late: General Enrollment Period
Part A. If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part A when you were first eligible, you can sign up for Part A anytime, without penalty.
When coverage begins. Your Part A coverage will go back to six months before the date you signed up .
Part B, C and D. If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you were first eligible, you can sign up for Part B during a General Enrollment Period, which happens between January 1 through March 31 each year. You will also have from April 1 through June 30 of that year to add a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan.
When coverage begins. When you sign up for Part B, C, or D during a General Enrollment Period, your coverage will start July 1.
Late sign-up penalty. Individuals who did not sign up for Medicare Part B when they turned 65 might face a penalty of higher lifetime premiums when they do sign up. However, most individuals who were covered by a group health plan through an employer are not subject to the penalty. If you didn’t sign up for Part B because you had group health benefits through work, you should be able to sign up during your Special Enrollment Period.
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When Can You Enroll In Medicare Advantage
You can enroll in Medicare Advantage during your Initial Enrollment Period. But you must first sign up for Parts A and B during your Initial Enrollment Period.
You can also enroll if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. If you lose your health insurance at your job, you can sign up for a plan up to eight months after losing your coverage.
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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.
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Applying For Medicare With Employer Coverage
Can you still enroll in Medicare coverage, even if youre not yet seeking retirement? The answer is yes! Medicare coverage can coincide with your group coverage through your employer. If your employer has more than 20 employees, your group coverage will work as your primary insurance, and Medicare will be your secondary insurance.
You can choose to apply for Part B, or you can wait until leaving your employer group coverage. For more information on the benefits of obtaining Medicare while receiving group coverage through work, give our team a call, and we can review the pros and cons.
Sometimes beneficiaries dont want to apply for Part B when they initially become eligible because of employer health coverage. Should you lose your health insurance through your employer, or if you prefer to switch over to Medicare, you can apply any time while receiving coverage through your employer.
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Medicare Eligibility For Medicare Advantage Before 65
After youre enrolled in Original Medicare, you may choose to remain with Original Medicare or consider enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan offered by a private, Medicare-approved insurance company.
Medicare eligibility for Medicare Part C works a little differently. Youre eligible for Medicare Advantage plans if you have Part A and Part B and live in the service area of a Medicare Advantage plan. If you have End Stage Renal Disease , you usually cant enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, but there may be some exceptions, such as a Medicare Advantage plan offered by the same insurance company as your employer-based health plan, or a Medicare Special Needs Plan .
When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, youre still in the Medicare program and need to pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium and any premium the plan charges. The Medicare Advantage program offers an alternative way of receiving Original Medicare coverage but may offer additional benefits. For example, Original Medicare doesnt include prescription drug coverage or routine dental/vision care, but a Medicare Advantage plan may include these benefits and more. Benefits, availability and plan costs vary among plans.
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How To Apply For Medicare Part A And Part B Before Age 65
Some people are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. If youve been receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months in a row, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, when you reach the 25th month.
If you have ALS or Lou Gehrigs disease, youre automatically enrolled in Medicare the month you begin receiving your Social Security disability benefits.
Some people will need to sign up for Medicare themselves. If you have end-stage renal disease , and you would like to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, you will need to sign up by visiting your local Social Security Office or calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 . If you worked for a railroad, please contact the RRB to enroll by calling 1-877-772-5772 , Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 3:30 PM, to speak to an RRB representative.
When To Sign Up For Medicare And How To Apply
Its not uncommon for new beneficiaries to have questions when signing up for Medicare. It is important to be confident that you enroll correctly to ensure you have the necessary health coverage. Below, we tell you how to effectively apply for Medicare.
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Sign Up: Within 8 Months After You Or Your Spouse Stop Working
- Most people dont have to pay a premium for Part A . So, you may want to sign up for Part A when you turn 65, even if you or your spouse are still working.
- Youll pay a monthly premium for Part B , so you may want to wait to sign up for Part B.
Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?
Act Quickly If You Want A Medicare Advantage Or Part D Plan When You Retire
When you work past 65 and qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, there is one tricky thing to note about this time period. The Special Enrollment Period lasts 8 months, but you only get the first two months to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
Many people get tripped up by this because they do get the full 8 months to get Part A and Part B. And this is even trickier when you consider that you need both Parts A and B to get a Medicare Advantage plan, and either Part A or Part B to get a Part D stand-alone plan.
TIP: Enroll in everything you want and need within the first two months of your Special Enrollment Period to ensure you dont accidently get hit with financial penalties for Part D.
Another good reason to enroll in the first two months is that it can take some time for plans to process your application. Make your decisions and enroll early to avoid a lapse in coverage.
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Have you tried to get a free home test at your retailer? Have you called your insurer to ask about reimbursement? .
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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.
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Do I Need To Get Medicare Drug Coverage
As long as you have , you can wait to join a Medicare drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage. If youre not sure, ask your drug plan if its creditable drug coverage.
Each year your plan must tell you if your non-Medicare drug coverage is creditable coverage. Keep this information you may need it when youre ready to join a Medicare drug plan.
You can join a plan anytime while you have job-based health insurance, and up to 2 months after you lose that insurance.
Even if you have a Special Enrollment Period to join a plan after you first get Medicare, you might have to pay the Part D late enrollment penalty. To avoid the Part D late enrollment penalty, dont go 63 days or more in a row without Medicare drug coverage or other creditable drug coverage.
When Should I Sign Up For Medicare
Generally, we advise people to file for Medicare benefits 3 months before age 65. Remember, Medicare benefits can begin no earlier than age 65. If you are already receiving Social Security, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B without an additional application. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. You will receive a Medicare card about two months before age 65. If you would like to file for Medicare only, you can apply by calling 1-800-772-1213. Our representatives there can make an appointment for you at any convenient Social Security office and advise you what to bring with you. When you apply for Medicare, we often also take an application for monthly benefits. You can apply for retirement benefits online.
If you didnt sign up when you were first eligible for Medicare, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period between January 1 and March 31 each year, unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
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Top 5 Things You Need To Know About Medicare Enrollment
1. People are eligible for Medicare for different reasons.
Some are eligible when they turn 65. People under 65 are eligible if they have received Social Security Disability Insurance or certain Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least 24 months. If they have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , theres no waiting period for Medicare. Some people with End Stage Renal Disease may be eligible for Medicare. Its important to know the different ways that people qualify for Medicare so you can help current and former employees and their dependents anticipate their eligibility for Medicare so they can make timely and appropriate decisions about their enrollment.
People living in the United States and U.S. Territories who are already collecting Social Securityeither disability or retirementare automatically enrolled into Part A and Part B when theyre first eligible. These people will get a packet of information a few months before they turn 65 or receive their 25th month of Social Security Disability or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. At that time, they can choose to keep or decline Part B, but cant decline Part A unless they withdraw their original application for Social Security and pay back all Social Security cash benefits.
Special Enrollment Period For Parts A And B
Some people with health care coverage through their job or union, or through their spouses job or union, wait to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B . If you or your spouse are actively working for an employer with more than 20 employees when you turn 65, you can get a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Parts A and/or B:
- Any time youre still covered by the employer or union group health plan through you or your spouses current employment or
- During the eight months following the month the employer or union group health plan coverage ends, or when the employment ends .
If you delay enrolling even longer, you may have to wait for coverage and you may pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty surcharge on your Medicare premiums.
If youre under age 65, and eligible for Medicare because youre disabled and working , the SEP rules also apply to you as long as the employer has more than 100 employees.
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Sign Up For A Mymedicaregov Account
After you sign up for Medicare, you can create a MyMedicare.gov account to manage your coverage.
With your MyMedicare.gov account, you can:
- Get details about the plans youre enrolled in and what they cover.
- Update your personal information.
Creating an account on MyMedicare.gov is quick and easy.
How to Sign Up for MyMedicare.gov
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