Things To Do Before Signing Up For Medicare
When Does Medicare Start
If youre planning your retirement, you may be wondering When does Medicare start for me? In some cases, your Medicare coverage starts automatically. In others, you may have to sign up, or you might decide to delay part of your Medicare coverage.
If you decide to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, well get to your coverage start dates later in this article.
If You Have A Disability
If youve been receiving either Social Security disability benefits or railroad retirement board disability benefits for at least 24 consecutive months, youre eligible to enroll in Medicare at any time, no matter your age.
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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
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Starting Saturday, many Americans can get home Covid-19 tests at no cost through their private insurance. They can obtain the tests from pharmacies, retailers and online vendors.
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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Medicare Part C Enrollment Deadlines
Medicare Part C is usually referred to as a Medicare Advantage Plan. In these plans, you get the benefits of Medicare Parts A, B and D at once. Many people choose Medicare Advantage because there are more flexible options, in terms of benefits and premium costs. But some simply like the convenience of having a private insurer administer their health insurance.
Typically, Medicare Advantage Plans have their own set of enrollment and modification guidelines because theyre administered by private insurers. However, if you decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, there are some dates you should keep in mind.
Lets say that your birthday is October 5. You have an initial enrollment period that lasts from July 1 through January 31 to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare now gives you a three-month trial run of your MA plan. If you dont like it, you can switch to a new MA plan or drop it in favor of original Medicare within those first three months. If you dont change plans during the trial period, you can use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment to change your plan one time during that period as long as its before March 31. Otherwise, youll have to wait until open enrollment starts in the fall for coverage that starts in a new calendar year.
Do I Need Medicare Part B
We always advise our clients to contact their employer or union benefits administrator before delaying Part A and Part B to learn more about how their insurance works with Medicare. Employer coverage may require that you enroll in both Part A and Part B to receive full coverage.
Common reasons beneficiaries delay Part B include:
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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.
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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Will My Prescription Drugs Be Covered
When signing up for a Medicare plan, be sure you tell your insurance agent the prescriptions youre taking so they can search plan formularies and find you a plan that will cover your medications. On most plans, you will still have a copayment for non-generic drugs, but check with your agent before signing up for a PDP plan.
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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Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
Since Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, signing up for a Part D plan during IEP is a good idea to ensure your medications are covered right away.
With so many options to consider, take a look at our 10 things to do before you enroll in a Medicare plan for a simple guide to help you make the best decision for your needs.
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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When Can You Sign Up For Medicare Without Penalty
Medicare eligibility starts at age 65. Your initial window to enroll is the seven-month period that begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after it. Seniors are generally advised to sign up on time to avoid penalties that could prove quite costly over the course of retirement.
Applying For Medicare By Phone
Just like applying online, applying for Medicare by phone is easy. You can contact a representative at 1-800-772-1213.
Depending on the volume of calls, there might be a wait time. If the wait time is above average, you can schedule an appointment to have a representative call you.
The only downfall with applying for Medicare by phone is that it can take longer compared to online. If youre ahead of the game and start well before your birthday, then applying by phone shouldnt cause any issues. If you do not wish to apply online or by phone, you can choose to do so in person.
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Medicare Part D Enrollment
If you didnt sign up for Medicare Part D when you were first eligible, you can sign up during an annual open enrollment period, which takes place from October 15 to December 7 each year.
Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage can also be purchased during an annual Medicare Advantage open enrollment period that takes place from January 1 to March 31.
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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When Can You Sign Up For Medicare Supplement Insurance
When you sign up for a Medigap policy could affect how much you pay. Learn when you should sign up.
by Christian Worstell | Published May 05, 2021 | Reviewed by John Krahnert
Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medigap, can help you save money on your Medicare out-of-pocket costs. But when can you sign up for Medicare Supplement Insurance? The best time to sign up for Medigap is during your Medigap open enrollment period, and failing to enroll during this time could end up costing you more money.
Learn more about your open enrollment period below.
Special Enrollment Period For Parts A And B
Some people with health care coverage through their job or union, or through their spouse’s 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 you’re 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 you’re under age 65, and eligible for Medicare because you’re disabled and working , the SEP rules also apply to you as long as the employer has more than 100 employees.
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When Should You Apply For Medicare
In most cases, you should apply for Medicare as soon as you’re eligible. The initial enrollment period starts three months before the month you turn 65, includes your birth month, and extends three months past the month you turn 65, giving you a seven-month window to apply. Your Part B coverage will likely be delayed if you enroll the month you turn 65 , so apply early to avoid a gap in coverage.
Medicare imposes a hefty late enrollment penalty if you enroll in Part B or D after the initial enrollment period and don’t qualify for a special enrollment period .You might qualify for a SEP if you have coverage, including creditable drug coverage from an employer or a union . Medicare does not charge a late enrollment penalty for enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplement plan after IEP. But it’s best to apply for Medigap as soon as you’re eligibleif you apply within the first six months of having Part B coverage, you can’t be denied a Medigap policy or be required to pay more because of health conditions. Here’s how enrollment works depending on whether or not you already receive Social Security benefits.
If you already receive Social Security benefits:
You should also check out the Medicare Enrollment Booklet which contains clear, concise information about both Medicare Part A and Part B.
If you are not yet receiving Social Security benefits:
When to get prescription drug coverage:
If You Do Medicare Sign
- Read in app
Tony Farrell turned 65 four years ago the age when most people shift their health coverage to Medicare. But he was still employed and covered by his companys group insurance.
When his birthday came around, he began researching whether he needed to move to Medicare, and determined he could stick with his employers plan, said Mr. Farrell, a marketing and merchandising executive for specialty retailers. At the time, he was working for a company that makes infomercials in San Francisco.
Four months later, Mr. Farrell was laid off, but he kept the companys health insurance for himself and his family under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act , the federal law that allows employees to pay for coverage as long as 36 months after a worker leaves a job.
I just thought, this is great the coverage wont change, he recalled. I was just relying on my own logic and experience, and felt that if I didnt need a government service, I wouldnt sign up for it.
But Mr. Farrell unknowingly ran afoul of one of the complex rules that govern the transition to Medicare and now he is paying the price.
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I Am Turning 65 Next Year When Can I Sign Up For Medicare
If you are eligible for Medicare, your initial enrollment period for Part A and Part B begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after it. For example, if your 65th birthday is in June, your enrollment period will extend from March 1 through September 30. If you join during one of the 3 months before you turn 65, coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65. If you join during the month you turn 65, your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you turn 65. If you join in the month after you turn 65, coverage will begin 2 months later, and if you join 2 or 3 months after you turn 65, coverage will begin 3 months later. A recent change in law limits these gaps in coverage. Starting in 2023, if you enroll in Medicare during the first 3 months after your turn 65, coverage will begin the first day of the month following the month you enroll.
Once you have Part A and Part B, you are then also eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and/or a Part D plan. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits and you want to enroll in Medicare, you should contact Social Security.
When Does Medicare Part A And B Coverage Start
To avoid a gap in coverage, sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B in the three months before your 65th birthday. If you do, your coverage will start in your birthday month.
If you sign up toward the middle or end of your Initial Enrollment Period, your coverage will start from one to six months after your birthday month, depending on when you enroll.
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When To Enroll In Medicare If I Dont Want Medicare Part B
If youre automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B, but do not wish to keep it you have a few options to drop the coverage. If your Medicare coverage hasnt started yet and you were sent a red, white, and blue Medicare card, you can follow the instructions that come with your card and send the card back. If you keep the Medicare card, you keep Part B and will need to pay Part B premiums. If you signed up for Medicare through Social Security, then you will need to contact them to drop Part B coverage. If your Medicare coverage has started and you want to drop Part B, contact Social Security for instructions on how to submit a signed request. Your coverage will end the first day of the month after Social Security gets your request.
If you have health coverage through current employment , you may decide to delay Medicare Part B enrollment. You should speak with your employers health benefits administrator so that you understand how your current coverage works with Medicare and what the consequences would be if you drop Medicare Part B.