When Is The Earliest You Can Sign Up
Youre first eligible for Medicare starting three months before you turn 65. That kicks off whats known as your Initial Enrollment Period.
The Initial Enrollment Period covers seven months: the three months before your 65th birth month, the month of your 65th birthday and the three months following your 65th birth month. For example, lets say your birthday is sometime in May. The three months before are February, March and April, and the three months following are June, July and August.
Keep in mind that the date you apply for Medicare will affect the start date of your coverage. To receive Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B beginning the first day of the month you turn 65, you must sign up during the three months before your 65th birth month. If you wait to sign up during your birth month or the next three months, your start date will be delayed by one, two or three months.
If your birthday is on the first day of your birth month, Part A and Part B will start the first day of the prior month. So, if, say, your birthday is September 1, your benefits will begin on August 1.
Medicare Advantage Plan Enrollment
When youre eligible to enroll in Original Medicare, you also become eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. You need to enroll in Original Medicare before you enroll in Medicare Advantage. Before enrolling in a plan, it may be a good idea to compare Medicare Advantage quotes.
To be eligible for Medicare Part C, you must already be enrolled in Part A and Part B.
If you are interested in joining a Medicare Advantage plan, you typically can only do so during specific times of the year.
The first time you may be able to enroll is during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period, as outlined above.
If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can change to another Medicare Advantage plan or switch back to Original Medicare within the first 3 months that you have Medicare.
How Do I Get Original Medicare
If youre 65 and getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare . You can expect your card in the mail three months prior to your 65th birthday.
If youre 65 and not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, youll need to enroll. You can start signing up when you are 64 years and 9 months old , the start of your seven-month initial enrollment period. It ends three months after your 65th birthday. For example, if your birthday is May 1, then your initial enrollment period is January 1 to July 31. After that, you may need to wait until the next Medicare Open Enrollment period. Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15, 2021.
You can apply for Medicare three ways: 1) via online application, 2) by visiting your local Social Security office, or 3) calling Medicare at 1-800-772-1213.
You dont need to reapply for Medicare each year. You can review and change coverage each Open Enrollment period. . If you made any changes to your Medicare coverage during this time, those changes take effect on January 1.
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Why Choose Oneal Insurance Group
Count on ONeal Insurance Group for an unbiased approach in answering your important and relevant questions and addressing your individual concerns. We can help you:
- Determine if your primary care and specialist providers are in or out-of-network
- Compare all the various carrier plans offered in your service area
- Choose the plan that best addresses your unique treatment needs and health concerns
- Enroll you in the right coverage in person over the phone on online screen share
- Understand how your benefits work with Group Pension Retirement plans like the city of Chicago or Cook County Illinois
- Determine if you should have a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan or stay with your employer and group retirement plan
You need a broker who really knows the difference between original Medicare and turning 65 and new to Medicare an under age-65 health insurance plan HMOs, PPOs and will take their time and explain the difference between MedSup, Medigap and Supplemental Plans C, F, G, M or N. Our authorized to offer broker agent Know which Medicare health plan carrier offers you the best coverage base on your needs, whether it is a no-cost, zero-premium coverage for your situation and can explain to you why.
We can assist you in deciding whether you should join original Medicare and why you should keep Medicare Part A and why you must pay for Part B.
If You Live In any one of The Following States listed below Feel Fee to Give us a Call at 1- 888-966-8579 Ext. 2
What Other Times Can You Sign Up
You may also become eligible for Medicare for other reasons. If youre eligible due to a disability, you qualify after youve received Social Security disability or certain Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
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Should I Enroll In A Medicare Pilot Program
One reason you might consider joining a Medicare pilot program is that it could give you temporary access to new benefits not currently covered under Medicare.
Keep in mind that not all Medicare pilot programs are offered in every location. Even if one is available in your area, you may not be eligible. Your costs and benefits for the Medicare pilot program may be different from what you normally pay through Medicare. Since participation is voluntary, youre allowed to leave the Medicare pilot program for any reason and at any time.
Medicare Faqs And Information To Consider
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, or Federal Retiree benefits, your enrollment in Medicare is automatic. Your Medicare card should arrive in the mail shortly before your 65th birthday. Check the card when you receive it to verify that you are entitled to both Medicare Parts A and B.
Initial Enrollment Period:
If you are not eligible for Automatic Enrollment, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or enroll online at www.socialsecurity.gov, or visit the nearest Social Security office to enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. You have a seven month window in which to enroll in Medicare without incurring a penalty. If youre not automatically enrolled in premium-free Part A, you can sign up for it once your Initial Enrollment Period starts. Your Part A coverage will start six months back from the date you apply for Medicare, but no earlier than the first month you were eligible for Medicare. However, you can only sign up for Part B during the times listed below.
General Enrollment Period:
- General Enrollment Period for Medicare Parts A & B
If you have coverage through a current employer, you are not required to enroll in Medicare Part A and B. Below are some things to keep in mind about each part of Medicare.
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Can I Change From One Medicare Supplement Plan To Another
If you have had a Medicare supplement plan since you turned 65, in most cases you can change to the same or a lower plan at the same or another company without having to wait for open enrollment. However, you must obtain your new plan within 90 days of leaving the old plan. To see exactly what Maine law says on this issue, see: Title 24-A M.R.S.A. §5002-B. For other questions about Medicare or Medicare supplement policies, contact the Maine State Health Insurance Assistance Program at 1-800-262-2232
What Is The Medicare Part B Late
If you do not sign up for Medicare Part B when you are first eligible, you may need to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare. Your monthly Part B premium could be 10% higher for every full 12-month period that you were eligible for Part B, but didnt take it. This higher premium could be in effect for as long as you are enrolled in Medicare. For those who are not automatically enrolled, there are various Medicare enrollment periods during which you can apply for Medicare. Be aware that, with certain exceptions, there are late-enrollment penalties for not signing up for Medicare when you are first eligible.
One exception is if you have health coverage through an employer health plan or through your spouses employer plan, you can delay Medicare Part B enrollment without paying a late-enrollment penalty. This health coverage must be based on current employment, meaning that COBRA or retiree benefits arent considered current employer health coverage.
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When Is The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period:
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is a limited annual enrollment period. It goes from January 1 March 31 every year. During this time, you can:
- Switch Medicare Advantage plans, if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan
- Disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare.
You cannot use this period to make most other coverage changes. However, if you decide to drop your Medicare Advantage plan, you can also use this period to join a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan, since Original Medicare doesnt include prescription drug coverage.
Outside of the Annual Election Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you cannot generally make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan unless you qualify for a Special Election Period.
Can You Sign Up For Medicare At Any Time
No, you can only enroll in Medicare during one of the enrollment periods. The first opportunity you have to enroll is during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, your second opportunity to sign up is during the General Enrollment Period. Outside both of these enrollment windows, you can sign up during a Special Enrollment Period if you qualify.
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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
If you choose not to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or stand-alone Medicare prescription drug coverage during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the annual Fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period .
AEP is also called the Medicare Annual Election Period and the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
This period runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
During the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage, you can:
- Enroll in, make changes to or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan
- Enroll in, make changes to or disenroll from a Medicare Prescription Drug plan
Plan changes you make during the 2020 Medicare Fall Annual Enrollment Period go into effect January 2021.
Do You Need To Apply For Medicare
Most people do need to apply for Medicare. But if you reach age 65 and youre already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, youll be signed up for Medicare Part A and Part B automatically.
And if you arent receiving retirement benefits and you dont have health coverage through an employer, you will need to apply for Medicare as you approach age 65. If you need to apply, Medicare gives you several options.
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Who Is Eligible For Medicare
You are eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B at age 65 if:
- You are a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident who has lived in the U.S. for five continuous years
- You or your spouse have worked long enough to be eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits
- You or your spouse are government employees or retirees who have not paid into Social Security but have paid Medicare payroll taxes
You can meet Medicare eligibility under 65 if you:
- Have been receiving Social Security disability benefits or certain Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least 24 months
- You have ALS
- You have End-Stage Renal Disease and you or your spouse have paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time
Applying For Medicare Online
Applying for Medicare online is a quick and easy process on the Social Security website, taking approximately ten minutes. After you have applied for Medicare online, you can check the status of your application and/or appeal, request a replacement card, and print a benefit verification letter.
Once you apply for Part B, give us a call so we can help you choose a supplement plan to cover what Medicare doesnt.
If youre not comfortable applying for Medicare online, you can do so over the phone.
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Enrolling In Original Medicare
Together, Medicares core hospital insurance and medical insurance are known as Original Medicare. Some people are lucky enough to be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. These are Americans who get benefit payments from Social Security or the federal Railroad Retirement Board for at least 4 months before their 65th birthday.
Starting the first day of your birthday month , you’re covered by hospital and medical insurance. You’ll get a Medicare card in the mail.
Everyone else must enroll in Original Medicare. Most people use the online application from the Social Security Administration . It should take 10-30 minutes. The website gives you a checklist of what information you need.
You can also enroll these ways:
- Visit or phone your nearest Social Security office.
- Send the SSA a signed, dated letter that includes your Social Security number and the date youd like Medicare enrollment to start.
- Visit your nearest RRB office or call the agency.
Signing up isn’t a difficult process, experts say.
I havent really seen any complications around the Medicare enrollment process, ever, says Casey Schwarz, JD, senior counsel for education & federal policy at the Medicare Rights Center. The only issue is timing.
In other words, when you decide to enroll in Medicare matters. Bad timing could create costly headaches for you. Under the law, you have just three choices:
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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Be Aware Of Other Enrollment Periods
Most people sign up for Medicare during the seven-month initial enrollment period around their 65th birthday.
But what if you missed your initial enrollment period and want to make changes or add additional coverage?
There are specific times each year when you can do this.
Alternate Medicare Enrollment Periods
When To Sign Up For Medicare Part B
If youre retiring, the best time to enroll in Part B is during your Initial Enrollment Period. For those still working past 65, check with your health administrators whether your employer coverage is creditable.
If it is, you can enroll in Part B when you retire or leave your group health plan. Youll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when you can enroll without any penalties. If your group health plan is not considered creditable coverage, then you should register for Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period.
If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period, the next enrollment window you can enroll in Part A and Part B is the General Enrollment Period.
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Signing Up For A Medigap Policy
To purchase a Medigap supplement insurance policy, you must first enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.
The best time to enroll in a Medigap plan is when you are first eligible.
This is a six-month enrollment period that begins the month youre 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
If you apply for Medigap coverage after this six-month window, private insurance companies may not sell you a policy if youre in poor health.
You can find a Medigap policy by using an online tool on the Medicare website, contacting your local SHIP or calling your State Insurance Department.
How to Sign Up for a Medigap Policy Online
If You Already Receive Benefits From Social Security:
If you already get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you are automatically entitled to Medicare Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn age 65. You will not need to do anything to enroll. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your 65th birthday. If your 65th birthday is February 20, 2010, your Medicare effective date would be February 1, 2010.
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Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
The earliest time you can enroll in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period .
Your Initial Enrollment period lasts for seven months:
- It begins three months before you turn 65
- It includes your birth month
- It extends for another three months after your birth month
If you are under 65 and qualify for Medicare due to disability, the 7-month period is based around your 25th month of disability benefits.