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How Early Can You Sign Up For Medicare

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When Does Medicare Start Your Coverage If Youre Automatically Signed Up For Medicare

How & When To Sign Up for Medicare (old)

Typically, youre automatically enrolled in Original Medicare if youre already receiving Social Security retirement benefits when you turn 65 or qualify by disability.

If youre not automatically enrolled in Medicare, the date Medicare coverage begins depends on when you enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B .

  • If you enroll in Medicare the month before your 65th birthday, your Medicare coverage will usually start the first day of your birthday month.
  • If you enroll in the month of your 65th birthday, your coverage will generally start the first day of the month after your birthday month.
  • If you enroll a month after you turn age 65, coverage usually begins two months after you signed up.
  • If you enroll two months after you turn age 65, coverage typically begins three months after you signed up.
  • If you enrolled three months after you turn 65, coverage usually begins three months after you signed up.

What Is The Medicare Advantage Plan Initial Coverage Election Period

Most beneficiaries are first eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Initial Coverage Election Period. Unless you delay Medicare Part B enrollment, this enrollment period takes place at the same time as your Initial Enrollment Period , starting three months before you have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and ending on whichever of the following dates falls later:

  • The last day of the month before you have both Medicare Part A and Part B, or
  • The last day of your Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period.

If youre under 65 and eligible for Medicare due to disability, your IEP will vary depending on when your disability benefits started.

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Enrolling In Original Medicare

If youre already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits and youre a U.S. resident, the federal government automatically enrolls you in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B at age 65. Youll receive your Medicare card in the mail about three months before you turn 65, and your coverage will take effect the first of the month you turn 65.

Medicare Part B has a monthly premium, which will be deducted from your Social Security or Railroad Retirement check. The standard Part B premium is $170.10/month for 2022. Thats up from $148.50/month in 2021, and quite a bit higher than initially projected in the Medicare Trustees Report projects. But the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 is the largest its been in 30 years, and will cover the increase in Part B premiums . However, the larger-than-expected increase in Part B premiums will eat up a significant portion of the Social Security COLA that many beneficiaries receive.

You can opt out of Part B and avoid the premiums, but its generally only a good idea to do that if youve got health insurance from your current employer or your spouses current employer, and the employer has at least 20 employees.

If youre disabled and receiving Social Security Disability benefits, your Medicare coverage will start automatically in the 25th month that youre receiving disability benefits.

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Ask These Questions Before You Delay Medicare

Whether or not you can delay Medicare past 65 when youre working really depends on a few simple questions.

  • Do you have employer health coverage?
  • Does your employer have 20 or more employees?
  • Is the coverage considered creditable?
  • If you can answer Yes! to all the above, you likely qualify for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period and can delay enrolling without penalty. Whats the next step?and information sent directly to your inbox.

    Medicare Eligibility For People Under 62

    Not Tech

    There are a few exceptions for Medicare age limits that can allow people younger than 65 and under age 62 to enroll in Medicare.

    • If you have ALS , you are immediately eligible for Medicare regardless of your age as soon as your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits begin.
    • You may also qualify for Medicare if you have kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant, which is known as end-stage renal disease .
    • You may also qualify for Medicare at age 62 or any age before 65 if you receive disability benefits from either Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months.

    If you qualify for Medicare under the age of 65 because of a disability, you might also qualify for a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan.

    Recommended Reading: When Do I Apply For Medicare Part B

    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.

    Medicare Special Enrollment Periods

    There are certain Special Enrollment Periods for Medicare that let you make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare prescription drug coverage. Some situations that qualify as a Special Enrollment Period include moving, losing your current coverage, and more. Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each Special Enrollment Period.

    Most common Enrollment circumstances

    • You change where you live
    • You lose your current coverage
    • You have a change to get other coverage
    • You plan changes its contract with Medicare

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    Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

    If youre looking to supplement your Original Medicare coverage to help with additional costs, the best time to buy a Medicare Supplement plan is during the six-month enrollment period that starts the first day of the month you turn 65 as long as you have signed up for Medicare Part B.

    If you dont sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan during this Open Enrollment Period, you may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement plan. Unless you have a guaranteed issue right, you may be required to answer medical questions.

    When Youre Ready Contact Social Security To Sign Up:

    Medicare: Everything you need to know about signing up | Walgreens
    • Apply online This is the easiest and fastest way to sign up and get any financial help you may need. Youll need to create your secure my Social Security account to sign up for Medicare or apply for Social Security benefits online.
    • Contact your local Social Security office.
    • If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.

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    What Can I Do Next

    Generally, youre first eligible to sign up for Part A and Part B starting 3 months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.

    Because the company has less than 20 employees, your job-based coverage might not pay for health services if you dont have both Part A and Part B.

    Medicare Part B Enrollment Deadlines

    Medicare Part B enrollment deadlines mimic those of Part A enrollment deadlines. Initial enrollment into Part B is automatic for the same people listed above in Part A. You have seven months to enroll in Part B if you dont qualify for automatic enrollment. However, there are a few differences when it comes to Medicare Part B.

    First, Part B requires a premium, whereas most people dont have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A. Because of this, you may be tempted to forgo Part B coverage. You should note that if you cancel Part B coverage or decide against enrolling in it, then you may not be able to enroll in Part B until the general enrollment period. This runs from January 1 through March 31 each year.

    Medicare Part B penalties are also different from Part A penalties. In essence, you get charged a 10 percent penalty fee for each full year that you lacked Medicare Part B coverage when you could have enrolled. For the following example, well return to Janice to see how much her premium would be if she failed to enroll in Medicare Part B on time.

    Unfortunately, Janice will have to pay this late penalty fee indefinitely. Unlike the penalty fee for missing the Medicare Part A enrollment deadline, the penalty for missing the Part B deadline lasts for as long as you have Medicare Part B. As long as Janice keeps Medicare Part B, shell have to pay the higher premium.

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    Als And Esrd Exceptions

    If youre younger than 65 and have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , youll automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin.

    There used to be a five-month waiting period between diagnosis with ALS and the start of disability benefits. But legislation that was enacted in late 2020 eliminated that waiting period. This means that disability benefitsand Medicare coveragecan begin as soon as a person is diagnosed with ALS.

    If youre undergoing dialysis for ESRD, your Medicare coverage usually starts the first day of the fourth month of dialysis treatments.

    However, if you go through training for a home dialysis program and your healthcare provider thinks youll be able to do your own dialysis at home, coverage can start as early as the first month of dialysis.

    Depending on where you live, you may be able to join a Medicare Special Needs Plan for people with ESRD, if theres one in your area.

    Or Older And Still Working

    Part A &  Part B sign up periods

    If you are 65 or older, currently employed, and get health care coverage through your employer, you can wait to sign up for Medicare until you retire or your coverage with your employer expires. You have an 8-month window to sign up for Medicare in this scenario. This is considered a Special Enrollment Period.

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    When Is Medicare Open Enrollment

    Medicare open enrollment also known as Medicares annual election period runs from October 15 through December 7 each year.

    During this annual window, Medicare plan enrollees can reevaluate their coverage whether its Original Medicare with supplemental drug coverage, or Medicare Advantage and make changes or purchase new policies if they want to do so.

    How Do I Get Reimbursed For At

    As of Jan. 15, health insurance companies will be required to reimburse Americans for eight at-home antigen tests per person a month, under a plan announced by President Joe Biden. If an individual has been directed to undergo COVID testing by their medical provider, because of underlying health conditions or other factors, there is no limit on the number of tests covered.

    But carriers are being encouraged to cover the cost of tests upfront at in-network pharmacies, rather than requiring members to file for reimbursement a cumbersome process that could discourage many from purchasing tests. The Biden Administrations testing guidance protects insurers against price gouging by unscrupulous retailers, but only if the insurance company provides a way for consumers to get at-home tests for free at pharmacies with no upfront payment, Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, tweeted on Monday.

    Though the Biden plan is not retroactive, some states, including Vermont, mandated insurers start paying for at-home kits earlier.

    You may also want to check with your employer, as some private companies also began offering reimbursement options for at-home tests before the Jan. 15 deadline.

    Also Check: What Date Does Medicare Coverage Start

    When To Enroll In Medicare

    7 months

    3 months before you turn 65

    You can start enrolling in Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday. Youll need to be eligible for Part A and Part B before you can get Part C . Youll need Part A, Part B, or both before you can get Part D.

    Not sure what services each part covers? Learn the basics of Medicare.

    Step 1 Learn about your Medicare benefits

    As soon as possible, visit or call Social Security at , 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to learn about your Part A and Part B benefits. The answers to these questions will help you enroll.

    • Will I get Part A at no cost? Typically, you can get Part A at no cost if you or your spouse paid into Medicare for at least 10 years. If not, you can buy it.
    • Do I need to enroll in Part A and Part B? Find out if youll be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B, or if you should sign up.
    • How will Social Security bill me for my Medicare premiums? The monthly premium is automatically deducted from your Social Security check each month. If youre not collecting Social Security, youll get a bill from the federal government every 3 months.
    • When will I get my Medicare card? The federal government will mail your red, white, and blue Medicare card after youre enrolled. You should get it 3 months before your 65th birthday if you’re automatically enrolled. If you need to enroll in Part A and Part B, it can take up to 2 months to get your Medicare card.

    Step 2 Enroll in Part A and Part B

    Do I Need To Get Medicare Drug Coverage

    Medicare & You: Deciding to Sign Up for Medicare Part B

    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.

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    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 To Sign Up For Medicare

    How can you make sure that youre adhering to the deadlines? Rest assured that were here to help you sort through the important dates, so that you never fall behind. If youre approaching your 65th birthday, then read on to discover more about the dates and deadlines to keep in mind when it comes to Medicare enrollment.

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    Can I get help paying for Medicare?

    If you need help with your Part A and B costs, you can apply for a Medicare Savings Program.

    You may also qualify for Extra Help to pay for your Medicare prescription drug coverage if you meet certain income and resource limits.

    What if Im eligible for Medicare, but my spouse isnt and wants to stay covered under our current Marketplace plan?

    If someone gets Medicare but the rest of the people on the application want to keep their Marketplace coverage, you can end coverage for just some people on the Marketplace plan, like a spouse or dependents.

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