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When Do I Apply For Medicare Part B

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Medicare Part B – Apply For Medicare Part B – Deciding To Sign Up For Medicare Part B

Medicare enrollment is easier than ever. Once you meet eligibility requirements, you are ready to choose from a variety of plans in which to enroll. As we mentioned earlier, some beneficiaries can receive automatic enrollment, and some have to apply manually.

There are three ways to apply for Medicare Part A and Part B:

  • Fill out an online application at SSA.gov
  • Visit a local Social Security office in person
  • If you have previously been a railroad employee, you can enroll in Medicare by contacting the Railroad Retirement Board, Monday Friday, from 9:00 AM 3:30 PM at 1-877-772-5772.

    Medicare applications generally take between 30-60 days to obtain approval.

    Do I Have To Be Enrolled In Medicare Part B Before I Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan

    Yes. The Medicare Advantage program provides the means for Medicare beneficiaries to receive Medicare Part A and Part B benefits from a Medicare Advantage plan rather than from the government-administered Medicare program. Medicare Advantage doesnt replace Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage it simply delivers these benefits through an alternative channel: private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must offer at least the same benefits as provided under Medicare Part A and Part B . Many Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits not available from Original Medicare. Therefore, to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. You must also reside in the plans service area.

    The Initial Enrollment Period is the first chance you have to enroll in Original Medicare, Part A and/or Part B. Your Initial Enrollment Period starts three months before you first meet all the eligibility requirements for Medicare and lasts for seven months.

    To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, however, you have to be entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B. This can occur simultaneously with the Initial Enrollment Period. You are likely to hear this enrollment period referred to as the Initial Coverage Election Period. This is the first time Medicare beneficiaries may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

    Do Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Renew Automatically

    Yes, coverage is guaranteed renewable on an automatic basis as long as premium payments are maintained. Again, it is important to look into multiple polices and providers when it comes to Medicare Supplement coverage, as policies and rules can vary among states and providers.


    Medicare information is everywhere. What is hard is knowing which information to trust. Because eHealths Medicare related content is compliant with CMS regulations, you can rest assured youre getting accurate information so you can make the right decisions for your coverage. Read more to learn about our Compliance Program.


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    Can My Medicare Part B Enrollment Start The Day My Work Coverage Ends

    Yes, you should be able to enroll in your Medicare Part B a few months in advance and select a future Part B start date. That way you can time it that when your work coverage ends, your Medicare Part B all start at the same time. You should not have a gap when your work coverage has ended but your Medicare has yet to begin.

    Medicare Renewal When Might You Have To Renew Your Medicare Coverage

    When Can You Apply For Part B Medicare

    There are some exceptions where youll need to take action to continue your coverage. Some situations where your Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan coverage wont be automatically renewed include, but arent limited to:

    • Your plan reduces its service area, and you now live outside of its coverage area.
    • Your plan doesnt renew its Medicare contract for the upcoming year.
    • Your plan leaves the Medicare program in the middle of the year.
    • Medicare terminates its contract with your plan.

    If your Medicare plan doesnt renew its contract with Medicare for the coming year, your Special Election Period will run from December 8 to the last day of February of the following year. If you have Medicare Advantage and dont enroll in a new plan by the date that your current plan ends its contract with Medicare, youll be automatically returned to Original Medicare.

    Keep in mind that your new coverage starts on the first day of the month after you submit your enrollment application, meaning if you apply on February 8, your new Medicare plan wouldnt begin until March 1.

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    How To Sign Up For Medicare Part B

    This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 138,067 times.

    Medicare Part B is a supplement to Medicare Part A that covers part of your expenses related to doctor visits, home care, medical equipment, and other items not covered by Part A. Part B is often used as replacement coverage after health coverage through an employer or spouse is lost. After obtaining these two Medicare parts , you can purchase private insurance known as Medicare Parts C and D, which is all inclusive and covers any additional expenses and prescription medications, respectively.XResearch source Considering the staggering costs of hospitalizations, it is nice to pay an affordable monthly rate and to not have so much as a co-payment when a doctor’s visit is due, let alone the high costs of hospitalization. Medicare Part B is a big choice for you and your family. There is a 6 month window of open enrollment upon signup. Make sure you sign up for Medicare Part B correctly to assure you get access to quality healthcare in your older years.

    Your Part D Coverage Changes As You Spend

    What if I don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when I am first eligible?

    A penalty will be assessed to your Medicare Part B premium if you do enroll after your initial 7-month Part B enrollment period and do not have other creditable coverage through an employer or union. The penalty could be as much as 10% for each full 12-month period you did not have Part B and were eligible.

    Additionally, if you do not sign up for Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period and you do not have a Special Enrollment Period due to loss of group coverage, you will have to wait until the General Enrollment Period to enroll in Part B. This period occurs from January 1st to March 31st, and your coverage benefits will start on July 1st of that year.

    Am I eligible for Part B benefits if I have coverage through the Veteran’s Administration?

    Medicare and the VA do not work together, but an individual can choose to use either for different health care needs. If you have VA benefits and do not enroll for Part B during your initial enrollment period, you may be assessed the Part B premium penalty if you decide to enroll for Part B at a later date.

    Get the benefits you deserve when you turn 65 by enrolling in Medicare. To find out more information about enrolling in Medicare Part B, take a look at our Medicare Part B Enrollment Guide.

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    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:

    Should I Enroll In Medicare Part D If I Have Fehb Coverage

    Do I Have to Apply for Medicare?

    You generally dont have to sign up for a Part D plan if you are covered through FEHB. The prescription coverage through your FEHB plan may have fewer restrictions than the Part D plans in your area. FEHB plans limit what youll have to pay each year in covered medical and prescription drug costs, but Part D plans do not. If you do sign up for Part D, it will usually be your primary insurer.

    If youre eligible for Extra Help, you probably do want to use Medicare Part D, because the co-pays for people with Extra Help pay are typically lower than the costs in FEHB plans. People with the most generous level of Extra Help pay only $3.60 for generics and $8.95 for brand medications in 2020.

    Because FEHB is considered creditable coverage, you wont have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you dont take Part D now and decide to enroll in the future.

    Josh Schultz has a strong background in Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. He coordinated a Medicare ombudsman contract at the Medicare Rights Center in New York City, and represented clients in extensive Medicare claims and appeals.

    In addition to advocacy work, Josh helped implement federal and state health insurance exchanges at the technology firm hCentive. He also has held consulting roles, including as an associate at Sachs Policy Group, where he worked with insurer, hospital and technology clients on Medicare and Medicaid issues.

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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.

    What Else Do I Need To Know

    • Medicare can help cover your costs for health care, like hospital visits and doctors services.
    • Most people dont pay a premium for Part A, but you do pay a monthly premium for Part B.
    • If you cant afford the monthly premium, there are programs to help lower your costs. Get details about cost saving programs.

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    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.

    Contact Social Security To Sign Up For Medicare

    How to Apply for Medicare

    You can either:

    Know when to sign up for Part BYou can only sign up for Part B at certain times. If you dont sign up for Part B when you turn 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty. Find out when you can sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?

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    Do I Need To Get Medicare Drug Coverage

    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.

    If I’m In The Fehb Should I Enroll In Part A

    Most people dont have to pay a premium for Part A. When combined with FEHB coverage, having Part A would limit your out-of-pocket costs for the expenses it covers . Having Part A means you cant contribute to a Health Savings Account , so youd want to delay enrolling in Part A if your FEHB coverage is HSA-qualified and you want to continue making contributions to your HSA.

    You can only delay Part A until you begin collecting Social Security at which point your Part A coverage will start automatically. The Office of Personnel Management , which administers the FEHB, recommends taking Part A if you dont have to pay a premium.

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    Enrolling Into Part B On A Delayed Basis

    If you have delayed Part B while you were still working at a large employer, youll still need to enroll in Part B eventually. When you retire and lose your employer coverage, youll be given a 8-month Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Part B without any late penalty.

    You should set up Part B to start the very next day after you lose your employer coverage. For example, if you know you will be retiring on June 30th, you should enroll in Medicare Parts A and/or B to begin on July 1st.

    When you activate your Part B, you will activate your 6-month Medicare supplement open enrollment window. This is your one opportunity to enroll into any Medigap plan without health questions. Once the 6 month window expires, its gone forever. If Medigap is too expensive and you prefer a Medicare Advantage plan, you have a short window to also enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan using a Special Election Period. These are tricky, so always work with an agent who specializes in Medicare to set that up properly.

    Signing Up For Premium

    Applying for Medicare Part B: How to Avoid Delays in Coverage

    You can sign up for Part A any time after you turn 65. Your Part A coverage starts 6 months back from when you sign up or when you apply for benefits from Social Security . Coverage cant start earlier than the month you turned 65.

    After your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you can only sign up for Part B and Premium-Part A during one of the other enrollment periods.

    Read Also: Can You Sign Up For Medicare Part B Anytime

    How Often Do You Have To Enroll In Medicare

    In general, once youre enrolled in Medicare, you dont need to take action to renew your coverage every year. This is true whether you are in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Medicare prescription drug plan. As long as you continue to pay any necessary premiums, your Medicare coverage should automatically renew every year with a few exceptions as described below.

    When Do You Use This Application

    Use this form:

    • If youre in your Initial Enrollment Period and live in Puerto Rico. You must sign up for Part B using this form.
    • If youre in your IEP and refused Part B or did not sign up when you applied for Medicare, but now want Part B.
    • If you want to sign up for Part B during the General Enrollment Period from January 1 March 31 each year.
    • If you refused Part B during your IEP because you had group health plan coverage through your or your spouses current employment. You may sign up during your 8-month Special Enrollment Period .
    • If you have Medicare due to disability and refused Part B during your IEP because you had group health plan coverage through your, your spouse or family memberscurrent employment.
    • You may sign up during your 8-month SEP.

    NOTE: Your IEP lasts for 7 months. It begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after you reach 65 .

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    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.

    Do I Need Medicare Part B

    How To Apply For Medicare Part B

    January 2, 2020 By Danielle Kunkle Roberts

    Imagine if you had a heart attack and needed open heart surgery. Now imagine that you did not have any coverage for that and would need to pay 100% of the cost of that surgery. Pretty upsetting thought, isnt it?

    That could potentially happen if you fail to enroll in Part B, and its astonishing how often it happens. We get calls from at least a dozen people every year who either misunderstood about what they really needed to have. Now they have some significant health issue and are learning they have no way to pay for their care.

    So if you are wondering Do I Need Medicare Part B this post will really help you. Lets tackle this question by looking at some common scenarios.

    This article has been updated for 2021.

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