Documents You Need To Apply For Medicare
To begin the application process, youll need to ensure you have the following documentation to verify your identity:
- A copy of your birth certificate
- Your drivers license or state I.D. card
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of legal residency
You may need additional documents as well. Make sure to have on hand:
- Your Social Security card
- W-2 forms if still active in employment
- Military discharge documents if you previously served in the U.S. military before 1968
- Information about current health insurance types and coverage dates
If you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and have chosen to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B, you must complete the additional forms .
- 40B form:This allows you to apply for enrollment into Medicare Part B only. The 40B form must be included in your online application or mailed directly to the Social Security office.
- L564 form:Your employer must complete this form if you delayed Medicare Part B due to creditable group coverage through said employer. You must also include the completed L564 form in your online application, or mail it directly to the Social Security office.
Can You Change Your Medicare Plan Anytime
You can change your Medicare plan anytime if you encounter certain, specific unforeseen circumstances. But generally, you can join, change or drop your Original Medicare health plan, a Medicare Advantage plan only during Medicares three enrollment periods.
When You Can Change Medicare Coverage
- Initial Enrollment Period
- The initial enrollment period is when you first become eligible for Medicare. This includes the seven-month period that includes the month you turn 65, the three months before your birthday month and the three months following your birthday month.
- Open Enrollment Period
- Original Medicares open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 of each year. If you join, change or cancel your Medicare plan, the change will automatically take effect on Jan. 1 of the new year as long as the new plan gets your request by Dec. 7.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
- The open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage runs from Jan. 1 through March 31 of each year. During this period, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. You can also switch from your Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare and join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at the same time. You can make this change to Original Medicare only once.
Can I Join A Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage Plans is both Part A and Part B coverage .1 This can include dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage, as well as no-cost extras.
If you want to enroll, you must:
- Be eligible for Medicare
- Be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B
- Not have end-stage renal disease
- Live within the plans service area
Find your plan service area with our Plan Finder tool
Once you are enrolled, the private company supporting your Medicare plan will set up your benefits. You do not lose your Original Medicare.
Also Check: Does Medicare Cover Outpatient Physical Therapy
Also Check: How To Find Out Your Medicare Number
Medicare Coverage And End Stage Renal Disease
You may get Medicare benefits at any age if you have ESRD and one of the following applies:
- You are eligible for Medicare based on your work record.
- You are already getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or you are eligible for benefits.
- Your spouse or parent meets one of the above requirements.
Medicare coverage starts the fourth month you receive dialysis treatments. For example, your Medicare coverage would start on October 1 if you start getting your dialysis treatments in July.
Medicare coverage could start the first month you receive treatments if all of these apply:
- You attend a home dialysis training program provided by a Medicare-certified training facility.
- Your doctor expects you to complete the training and be able to do your own dialysis treatments.
- You maintain regular dialysis treatments throughout the usual required waiting period.
You must enroll in Original Medicare yourself. Once you have both Part A and Part B, you may make other Medicare coverage choices, such as adding Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you are 65 or older, or disabled, and are already enrolled in Part A, you may enroll in Part B without penalty if you are approved for Medicare based on ESRD. You may also have an existing Part B late enrollment penalty removed.
When Your Coverage Starts
The date your coverage starts depends on which month you sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period. Coverage always starts on the first of the month.
If you qualify for Premium-free Part A: Your Part A coverage starts the month you turn 65.
Part B : Coverage starts based on the month you sign up:
If you sign up:
1 month after you turn 65
2 months after you sign up
2 or 3 months after you turn 65
3 months after you sign up
You Automatically Get Medicare
- You should already have Part A and Part B , because you have ALS and youre already getting disability benefits.
- We mailed you a welcome package with your Medicare card.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months after your Part A starts, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months of turning 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
Some Supplement Plans That Are Great Alternatives To Medicare Advantage Plans
Youre in a Medicare Advantage Plan and your plan is leaving Medicare or stops providing care in your service area, or you move out of the plans service area.
You have the right to buy a Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L thats sold by any insurance company in your state. You only have this right if you switch to Original Medicare rather than joining another Medicare Advantage Plan. You can/must apply for a Medigap policy:
As early as 60 days before the date your coverage will end
No later than 63 calendar days after your coverage ends Medicare Supplement coverage cant start until your Medicare Advantage Plan coverage ends.
You have Original Medicare and an employer group health plan or union coverage that pays after Medicare pays, and that plan is ending.
You have the right to buy a Medigap Plan A, B, C, F, K, or L thats sold by any insurance company in your state. If you have COBRA coverage, you can either buy a Medigap policy right away or wait until the COBRA coverage ends. You can/must apply for a Medicare Supplement plan no later than 63 calendar days after the latest of these 3 dates:
Date the coverage ends
Date on the notice you receive telling you that coverage is ending
Date on a claim denial, if this is the only way you know that your coverage has ended*Your rights may last for an extra 12 months under certain circumstances.
You have Original Medicare and a Medicare SELECT policy. You move out of the Medicare SELECT policys service area.
Don’t Miss: Does Medicare Cover Dexcom G6
When Can I Enroll In Medicare If I Am Not Receiving Retirement Benefits
If you are not yet receiving retirement benefits and are close to turning 65, you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B during your IEP. If you decide to delay your Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits beyond age 65, there is an option to enroll in just Medicare and apply for retirement benefits at a later time.
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 â 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 doesnât 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.
Don’t Miss: Does Medicare Become Your Primary Insurance
Can You Delay Signing Up For Medicare Part B
You may pay a penalty later on if you dont sign up for Medicare when you are first eligible when you turn 65. You can delay signing up for Medicare Part B without penalty, however, if you have health insurance through an employer with more than 20 employees. If you have health insurance from an employer with fewer than 20 employees, you need to sign up for Medicare when you are first eligible because the employer has no legal obligation to offer health insurance to an employee or spouse who is eligible for Medicare.11 Check here to see whether or not you need to sign up for Part B as soon as youre eligible.
Full Retirement Age By Year
Full retirement age is the age you begin to receive full Social Security benefits. If you start to draw your Social Security benefits before reaching your full retirement age, the payment you receive will be less.
An easy way to think about full benefits and retirement age is this,
- Social Security will reduce your payments if you choose to receive your benefit before full retirement age. The percentage of reduced amount is highest at age 62 and decreases until you reach full retirement age.
- If you choose to receive Social Security payments when you reach full retirement, you will get the total amount.
- Suppose you choose not to receive Social Security payments when you reach full retirement and delay your benefit. In that case, you can increase the amount of your payment by earning delayed retirement credits.
If youre not sure when you reach full retirement age, our table provides the years and months you need to know for full retirement.
Read Also: How Can I Sign Up For Medicare
The Parts Of Medicare
Social Security enrolls you in Original Medicare .
- Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or limited time at a skilled nursing facility . Part A also pays for some home health care and hospice care.
- Medicare Part B helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.
Other parts of Medicare are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set by Medicare.
- Supplemental policies help pay Medicare out-of-pocket copayments, coinsurance, and deductible expenses.
- Medicare Advantage Plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B prescription drugs and additional benefits such as vision, hearing, and dental bundled together in one plan.
- Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.
Most people age 65 or older are eligible for free Medical hospital insurance if they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough. You can enroll in Medicare medical insurance by paying a monthly premium. Some beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay a higher monthly Part B premium. To learn more, read .
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 didnât 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 spouseâs 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 arenât considered current employer health coverage.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Advantage Of Medicare Advantage
What If Im Not Automatically Enrolled At 65
If your Medicare enrollment at 65 is not automatic, but you want to enroll, here are some more magic numbers.
3 and 7.
To start taking advantage of Medicare at 65, you need to sign up during the three months before the birthday month you turn 65. Those are the first three months of your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period.
Unless your birthday is on the first day of the month, your Initial Enrollment Period includes the three full months before turning 65, the month you turn 65, and the three months after you turn 65. If you were born on the first day of the month, IEP is the four months before your birth month, along with your birthday month and the two months after.
If you sign up during one of the months before your 65th birthday, your coverage will begin on the first day of the month you turn 65 .
Are you eligible for cost-saving Medicare subsidies?
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.
You May Like: Does Medicare Pay For Contrave
How Do I Enroll In Medicare
Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to enroll in Medicare or to ask questions about whether you are eligible. You can also visit their web site at www.socialsecurity.gov.
The Medicare.gov Web site also has a tool to help you determine if you are eligibile for Medicare and when you can enroll. It is called the Medicare Eligibility Tool.
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.
Get A Free Quote
Find the most affordable Medicare Plan in your area
Depending on call volume, 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 than online. If youre ahead of the game and start well before your birthday, applying by phone shouldnt cause any issues.
You May Like: How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost At Age 65
When To Sign Up For Medicare
If youre not enrolled automatically, you should sign up in the three months before your 65th birthday. That way, coverage will start on the first day of your birthday month .
You technically have seven months around your 65th birthday to enroll: the three months before your birthday month, your birthday month and the three months after. This is called your initial enrollment period. If your birthday is the first of the month, your initial enrollment period includes the four months before your birthday month and two months after.
Your coverage could be delayed if you wait until your birthday month or the three months afterward to apply for Medicare. And if you miss your initial window, you may need to sign up during Medicare’s general enrollment period. However, you may be subject to a permanent penalty unless you have continuous coverage from a large employer group health insurance plan.
Enrolling In Medicare Parts A And B
If you are getting Social Security Benefits at least 4 months before 65th birthday, you will be automatically signed up once you turn 65.
If you wont be getting Social Security Benefits at least 4 months before 65th birthday, you can apply online at Social Security, or contact your local Social Security office during a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 65*.
If you are under 65 and have a disability, you will be automatically signed up after you have been receiving Disability Benefits from Social Security for 24 months.
If you have ALS , you will be automatically signed up the month your disability benefits begin.
If you have End Stage Renal Disease , enrolling in Medicare is your choice. However, if you do choose to enroll, youll need both Parts A and B to get the full benefits available. You can apply online at Social Security, or contact your local Social Security office, upon your diagnosis.
Enrollment in Medicare Part B typically takes place during the General Enrollment Period .
Recommended Reading: Is Rocklatan Covered By Medicare