I Turn 65 In A Few Months When Should I Sign Up For Medicare
En español | If you already receive Social Security benefits, Social Security will automatically sign you up for Medicare Part A and Part B though you can decline Part B enrollment if you want to. Otherwise, you need to apply for Medicare. The best time to do that depends entirely on your own situation. Broadly, there are two options:
If You Missed Enrolling Your Initial Or General Enrollment Period
If a group health plan covers you through your or your spouses employer or union, you can sign up for Medicare Part A or Part B anytime.
If your employment or group health plan ends, you have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and Part B without facing a late enrollment penalty. Keep in mind that retiree health plans and COBRA dont qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period when that coverage ends.
Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Enrollment Dates Coverage Costs Eligibility Details And Opportunities To Change Coverage
During the annual Medicare open enrollment, Medicare plan enrollees can reevaluate their coverage whether its Original Medicare with supplemental drug coverage, or Medicare Advantage and make changes if they want to do so. | Image: rocketclips / stock.adobe.com
Medicare open enrollment for 2022 coverage starts on October 15, 2021, and continues through December 7. Learn how you can change your Medicare coverage outside of the fall open enrollment period.
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How To Start Medicare As Soon As Possible
Medicare coverage can start as early as the first day of the month in which you turn 65, unless you were born on the first of the month. In that case, your coverage can begin on the first day of the previous month.
People who are automatically enrolled will get coverage as soon as its available. If you have to enroll yourself, you should sign up in the three months before your birthday. You have seven months around your birthday to enroll for the first time this is whats known as your initial enrollment period. But waiting until your birthday month or the three months afterward to sign up can delay the start of your coverage.
When Does Medicare Start
People with disabilities, ALS, or End-Stage Renal Disease may be eligible for Medicare before theyre 65. If you qualify for Medicare because of a disability, there is no minimum age for receiving benefits. However, most beneficiaries get Medicare at age 65.
Some people wait until they retire to start collecting benefits. For some, that could be 66 years old for others, waiting until 70 to get delayed retirement credits may be the most beneficial retirement plan.
If you choose to enroll at age 65, benefits start on the first day of the month you turn 65. For example, if you turn 65 on June 30th, your coverage begins on June 1st. You can get Medicare at age 65 even if youre not collecting Social Security. So, you can keep working and take your Medicare if thats the path you want to choose.
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How To Sign Up For Medicare
- If you arent yet getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you need to apply for Medicare.
- If you already get Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, the SSA or RRB will automatically sign you up for Medicare Part A and B so its effective the month of your 65th birthday.
When You Turn 65
Over the recent holidays we had a big birthday celebration for my mom, who turned 65.
A milestone birthday, for sure! All her kids and grandkids were there to celebrate with her. We sang over a huge cake with 65 blazing candles and all cheered when she blew them out, with a little help from the grandkids.
It was a sweet night full of memories and acknowledgement of the incredible life she has lived and the blessing that has been to all of us.
Many of you are approaching the same milestone in your own life. In addition to looking back and remembering all the joys and triumphs of so many years, you may also be looking forward to the future, and wondering how to prepare for whats coming next. One of the things that is probably on your radar is Medicare. And you may have a few questions.
In this article we will answer all your questions about how Medicare works when you turn 65. We will give you a thorough understanding of the program, established and administered by the United States federal government to provide health insurance for people over 65.
We will specifically address any questions that may have arisen as you have thought about signing up for Medicare.
These will include: Is Medicare free at age 65? Do you have to go on Medicare when you turn 65? How do you sign up for Medicare when you turn 65? Does Medicare start the month you turn 65? Are you penalized if you dont sign up for Medicare at 65?
WHAT IS MEDICARE?
IS MEDICARE FREE AT AGE 65?
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Enrollment In A Medicare Supplement Plan
There are different rules for enrolling in a supplemental insurance plan, also known as Medigap.
According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the best time to buy a Medigap policy is the first six months after the month you turn 65.
For example, if you turn 65 in June and enroll in Part B the same month, you should buy a Medigap policy between June and November.
You must be enrolled in Medicare Part B to sign up for a Medigap policy.
After this six-month window, your Medigap options may be limited and policies may cost more.
Keep in mind that some states may have additional Medigap policy open enrollment periods.
Medicare Deadline: 65 Or Older And Have Health Insurance Through Your Spouse
If you have health insurance through your spouses employer, you dont need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 or retire. You can sign up for Part A and Part B up to 8 months after your spouses employer coverage ends. This is considered a Special Enrollment Period.
Important reminder: You are not automatically covered by Medicare through your spouse. Unlike health insurance you may have had through your employer, Medicare does not allow you to receive coverage through your spouse. In order to receive Medicare coverage, you must apply for it individually.
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When Does Medicare Coverage Start
For most people, Medicare coverage starts the month they turn 65. But you may have a different enrollment period, and there may be consequences if you miss it.
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Many seniors choose to start their Medicare coverage when they first become eligible the month they turn 65. However, not everyone has to enroll at that time. Also, if you are already enrolled in Medicare but want to change your coverage, the enrollment periods can get a little tricky.
For this reason, its important to know the Medicare enrollment periods. If you miss your deadline,you will face late enrollment penalties, more expensive premiums, fewer plan choices, or gaps in care.
Special Conditions For Medicare Eligibility
Many people don’t realize that, in some cases, you don’t have to be 65 to start receiving benefits from Medicare. In some cases, those who qualify will get Medicare automatically, while others still have to apply.
For those under 65 who have a disability, Medicare enrollment automatically happens once you’ve received Social Security or Railroad Retirement disability payments for 24 months. If you don’t want those benefits — often because you’re covered under a health plan that your spouse receives — then you can take steps to get Part A hospital coverage only, choosing not to get Part B medical coverage for which you’d typically have to pay a monthly premium.
Certain disabilities get slightly different treatment. Those who have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, can get Medicare benefits the first month that they get disability from Social Security or Railroad Retirement.
In addition, those who have end-stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare no matter how old they are. Coverage generally starts on the first day of the fourth month of dialysis treatments but for those who take part in a home dialysis training program, coverage can start as early as the first month of dialysis. You aren’t required to sign up for Medicare, though, leaving options like group coverage or marketplace health-insurance exchange policies open as alternatives.
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Consider Whether You Need Medicare Supplement Insurance
You might already know that Medicare doesnt pay 100% of approved charges. For example, Medicare Part B coverage pays 80% of covered medical costs after you meet the annual deductible. That means youre responsible for the remaining 20% and for paying your deductible.
Thats why many people who choose Original Medicare also buy Medicare Supplement Insurance, often called a Medigap policy, to help pay for some or all of these gaps in benefits. Private insurance companies sell these policies. They help pay for other costs, including coinsurance and copays.
When Does Medicare Advantage Coverage Start
The date your Medicare Advantage plan starts depends on the enrollment period and your eligibility. Those turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare, can select an advantage plan 3-month before the effective date.
When you pre-enroll in your plan, you save yourself from scrambling. Medicare is one thing you dont want to procrastinate on. Many people change plans during the Annual Enrollment Period if you make a change during this period, your policy will begin on January 1st of the following year.
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When Does Medicare Start For Me
For Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, a simple way to determine your exact Medicare effective date is to refer to the lower right corner of your Medicare card or to refer to your letter from either the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board.
If you have any questions about when your Medicare coverage starts, you can contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM. For TTY services, call 1-800-325-0778.
If you worked for a railroad, you can call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772, Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30PM. For TTY services, call 751-4701.
If you enroll into a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, the date your coverage starts can vary, depending on when you enroll and which election period you qualify for. For questions about your effective date on these types of Medicare plan options, you can contact the Medicare health or prescription drug plan directly or refer to mail you may have received from them.
NEW TO MEDICARE?
When Can You Enroll In Prescription Drug Coverage
You have a few options as to when you can sign up.
- Your Initial Enrollment Period: This occurs when you first become eligible for Medicare.
- Open Enrollment Period : From October 15 to December 7 each year, you can enroll in a prescription drug plan.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: From January 1 to March 31 each year, if you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan without drug coverage, you can switch to a plan that includes the coverage.
- Special Enrollment Period: Certain events, like moving or losing your insurance coverage, make you eligible to enroll outside the usual times.
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Coordinating Start Dates For Medicare Advantage Or Drug Coverage And Medicare
Same as above. Once you learn your Original Medicare effective date, youll want to apply for Medicare Advantage prior to that date, so that you have the coverage you desire.
- If you have delayed Part B, your start date will be different from above, as will your Medicare Advantage and Medigap effective dates
- If you are enrolled in Medicare Advantage and want to switch to Medigap,
- If you are enrolled in Medigap and Switch to Medicare Advantage,
- Dont forget to coordinate your Part D drug plan enrollment with your Original Medicare
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 Buy A Medigap Policy
Once youre age 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B for the first time, you have a six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period in which you can buy a Medigap policy. During this period, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems .
If, though, you apply for Medicare Supplement Insurance after your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you could be turned down for a policy if you have certain health conditions.
How Do I Enroll In Medicare
Once you turn 65, gather the required documents needed to enroll. This will include proof of citizenship or residency. You may need your birth certificate, passport, vaccination records, medical records, or other documentation to verify your date of birth and your citizenship. Additionally, youll need proof of income, a Social Security number, your spouses information, and more. You can enroll in Medicare online, over the phone, or at a Social Security Administration office. You do not need an insurance agent to enroll.
If you qualify for Medicare and don’t know where to start
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I Didnt Sign Up For Part B When I First Became Eligible But Want To Sign Up Now I Know There Is A Penalty For Late Enrollment Is There Any Way To Avoid The Penalty
Generally, no. In most cases, if you missed your Part B enrollment window, which runs from the three months before the month of your 65th birthday through the three months after the month of your 65th birthday, you will face a late enrollment penalty once you do enroll, which will be added to your premium costs for the remainder of your enrollment. The penalty equals 10% of the standard monthly premium for each 12-month period that you delayed enrollment.
If you did not enroll for Part B during your initial enrollment period, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B anytime as long as you or a spouse is working and youre covered by a group health plan through that employment. For people age 65 or over who have coverage through a group health plan, there is also an 8-month SEP which starts the month after the employment ends or the group health plan coverage ends. If you sign up during an SEP, the late enrollment penalty will not apply.
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.
Do You Automatically Get Medicare When You Turn 65
There are certain situations where you may be automatically enrolled in Medicare. It is important to note there are four parts of Medicare that cover specific services:
- Part A covers hospital care.
- Part B covers medical and doctor services.
- Part C is Medicare Advantage. Once you have Parts A and B, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Private companieslike Priority Healthmanage Medicare Advantage plans .
- Part D is prescription drug coverage.
While you may be automatically enrolled in one part, you may still need to manually sign up for others.
If you are already receiving social security, retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits before you turn 65, then you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, also called Original Medicare. You will receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday. Your coverage will automatically begin the first day of your birthday month.
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.
During the Medicare open enrollment period, you can:
- Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage .
- Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare .
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another.
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan if you didnt enroll when you were first eligible for Medicare. If you havent maintained other , a late-enrollment penalty may apply.
Prior to 2021, patients with end-stage renal disease were unable to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans unless there was a Medicare Special Needs plan available in their area for ESRD patients. But that changed as of 2021, under the terms of the 21st Century Cures Act. People with ESRD gained the option to enroll in Medicare Advantage as of 2021, and CMS expected more than 40,000 to do so. This can be particularly advantageous for beneficiaries with ESRD who are under age 65 and living in states that dont guarantee access to Medigap plans for people under the age of 65.
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