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.
Scenario #: You Are Under 65 And On Medicare Disability
If you are already receiving Social Security disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare Part A and Part B after you have been receiving disability benefits for 24 months.
You do not have to sign up for Medicare if you are receiving Social Security disability. You will receive your red, white and blue Medicare card in the mail before your 25th month of disability.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment happens every year from Jan. 1 to March 31. If youre enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to make changes, you can do one of these:
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan with or without drug coverage
- Go back to Original Medicare and, if needed, also join a Medicare prescription drug plan
Your new coverage begins on the first day of the month following the month you make a change and will be in effect for the rest of the year.
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How And When Can You Switch Medicare Plans
If you want to make a change to your plan or switch to another plan, such as changing from a Medicare Supplement plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do so during the Annual Election Period 2. The AEP lasts from October 15 to December 7 each year.
Outside of the AEP, if you have certain life events such as moving or your plan changes, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period 1. You may also be able to switch your Medicare Supplement plans if you have guaranteed issue rights3 or are within your 6-month initial enrollment period.
Medigap Open Enrollment Period
Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the six-month window that begins the first day of the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B. For example, if you turn 65 and are enrolled in Part B in January, you can buy a Medigap policy between January and June. This enrollment window cant be changed or repeated.
During this open enrollment period, you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems.
But after your open enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy depending on your health status and may be subject to a health review.
Your new coverage begins on the first day of the month after you sign up.
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When Do I Sign Up For Medicare Advantage
Before you sign up for Medicare Advantage, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplements. If you choose to sign up for Medicare Advantage, you can do so during your IEP.
If you missed your IEP, you can join during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. For those currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you also have another opportunity to make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
Do I Need To Notify Anyone If Im Delaying Medicare
You don’t need to provide notice that you’d like to delay enrolling unless you’re receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If you are receiving either, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B when you turn 65, and you’ll need to let Social Security know you wish to delay Part B. By law though, if you receive Social Security benefits you must also have Medicare Part A.
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Do You Have To Sign Up
If you receive Social Security benefits at least 3 months before you turn 65, in most cases you will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B on the first day of the month when you turn 65. If your birthday falls on the first day of the month, your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage will begin on the first day of the previous month.
You will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B if you have received Social Security disability benefits for at least 2 years. If you reside in Puerto Rico, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A, but will have to sign up for Medicare Part B in order to receive it.
If you are not receiving Social Security benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you will have to sign up with Social Security in order to receive Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. To sign up you can apply online at SSA.gov. Additionally, when you receive coverage, you can decide to receive Part C or Part D for additional coverage.
You will receive coverage at different times depending on the exact situation. If you enroll one to three months before you reach 65 years of age, you will receive Medicare benefits the month that you hit 65. If you enroll the month you reach 65, you will receive Medicare one month after. If you enroll one month after you reach 65, you will receive Medicare two months after. If you wait two to three months after you reach 65, then you will have Medicare three months after the month you enrolled.
Working At Age 65 And Medicare
You are generally eligible for Medicare at age 65, with an enrollment window leading up to your 65th birthday. This enrollment opportunity begins three months prior to your birthday month and ends three months afterwards. Signing up for Medicare on time can help you avoid penalties.
If you are still working at age 65, you have a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to signing up for Medicare. If you have group coverage through an employer, you may wait about signing up. As long as your employer has twenty or more employees on the policy, you can delay signing up for Medicare.
There are two parts to Medicare, Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A is free. Since it is free, it would be wise to sign up on time for Part A. It doesnt cost you anything and can serve as your secondary insurance in some cases. If you continue to work and keep employer sponsored insurance, you can sign up for Medicare Part A only.
Medicare Part B is not free. You will have a monthly cost if you enroll in Medicare Part B. You can avoid paying Part B premiums if you are covered under your employers group plan. You would simply defer Medicare Part B. Once you retire or loose group coverage, you have an eight month period of time to sign up for Medicare Part B.
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Scenario #: You Are Turning 65 Are Already Receiving Social Security And Want To Sign Up For Medicare
This is the most common situation fortunately, it is also the easiest as far as signing up for Medicare. If you are already receiving Social Security, as long as you have qualified for Medicare through your employment or your spouses employment , you will be AUTOMATICALLY enrolled into Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
Your Medicare will begin the first day of the month that you turn 65. If your birthday falls on the first day of a month, you will get Medicare on the first day of the preceding month. There is nothing you need to do to enroll in Medicare. You will receive a red, white and blue Medicare card by mail approximately 3 months before your 65th birthday .
You will begin paying your Medicare Part B premium beginning in the month that your Medicare starts. This payment occurs automatically out of your Social Security check. The premium for Part B for 2020 is $144.60/month unless you fall into a higher-income bracket and are required to pay Medicare IRMAA.
When Do I Have To Sign Up For Medicare
If youre collecting Social Security, youll automatically be enrolled in both Part A and Part B. If youre not receiving Social Security, then youll want to sign up manually during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Three months before your 65th birthday, your Initial Enrollment Period window will start. Your IEP is a once-in-a-lifetime enrollment window that you dont want to miss.
If you do happen to miss it, youll have another opportunity to enroll during another enrollment period. However, you could get a penalty for not signing up when you first become eligible. The only way around the penalty is if you have creditable coverage.
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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.
Do You Have To Be On Medicare At 65
When you turn 65 years old, youâre eligible to sign up for Medicare.
Original Medicare is made up of 2 main parts: Part A and Part B .
As long as youâve worked at least 10 years and paid Medicare taxes, Medicare Part A is actually free to have, meaning that you donât have a monthly premium to pay. Thereâs really no downside to having Part A when you turn 65.
Do you have to have Part A when you turn 65? No. Is there any downside to having Part A when you turn 65? No. Thatâs why you donât actually have to sign up for Part A.
Three months before you turn 65, youâll be mailed your Medicare card, and youâre automatically enrolled in Part A. Youâll also be automatically enrolled in Part B unless you send the card back explaining that you donât want it.
Which brings us to our next question â is Medicare Part B mandatory at age 65?
Our team of licensed agents can help you determine which route would save you the most money, so if youâre not sure, be assured that we can help. Call us any time at 833-801-7999.
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During A Special Enrollment Period
This SEP is available only if you have health insurance from an employer for which you or your spouse actively works. It allows you to delay enrolling in Part B until the employment or the coverage ends whichever occurs first.
The SEP actually lasts throughout the time you have coverage from current employment and for up to eight months after it ends. If you enroll at any point during this time frame, your Medicare coverage will begin on the first day of the following month, and you will not be liable for late penalties regardless of how old you are when you finally sign up.
Be aware that an IEP always trumps an SEP if the two should happen to overlap. For example, if your IEP ends on Aug. 31, and you retire on the same date, you will not be entitled to an SEP. Therefore, if you delayed enrollment until after Aug. 31, you would not be able to sign up until the following general enrollment period and your coverage would not begin until July 1 so you would be left for almost a year without coverage. Even if you signed up during the final months of your IEP, your coverage would still be delayed by two or three months. But, to continue this example, if you retired on Sept. 1, under the rules of the SEP, you could enroll in August and receive Medicare starting Sept. 1 with no loss of coverage.
Two other Medicare enrollment scenarios have different rules.
What Is The Medicare Advantage Plan Initial Coverage Election Period
Most beneficiaries are first eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Initial Coverage Election Period. Unless you delay Medicare Part B enrollment, this enrollment period takes place at the same time as your Initial Enrollment Period , starting three months before you have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and ending on whichever of the following dates falls later:
- The last day of the month before you have both Medicare Part A and Part B, or
- The last day of your Medicare Part B Initial Enrollment Period.
If youre under 65 and eligible for Medicare due to disability, your IEP will vary depending on when your disability benefits started.
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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.
Special Enrollment Period For People Covered Under An Employer Group Health Plan
If you are 65 or older and are covered under a group health plan, either from your own or your spouses current employment, you have a special enrollment period in which to sign up for Medicare Part B. This means that you may delay enrolling in Medicare Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and paying the 10 percent premium surcharge for late enrollment. The rules allow you to:
- Enroll in Medicare Part B any time while you are covered under the group health plan based on current employment or
- Enroll in Medicare Part B during the eight-month period that begins with the month your group health coverage ends, or the month employment endswhichever comes first.
- Special enrollment period rules do not apply if employment or employer-provided group health plan coverage ends during your initial enrollment period.
If you do not enroll by the end of the eight-month period, you will have to wait until the next general enrollment period, which begins January 1 of the next year. You also may have to pay a higher premium, as described in General enrollment period for Part B.
People who receive Social Security disability benefits and are covered under a group health plan from either their own or a family members current employment also have a special enrollment period and premium rights that are similar to those for workers age 65 or older.
Options for receiving health services
Medicare beneficiaries may have choices for receiving health care services.
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What If You Worked 10 Years Or Less
Most people will qualify for coverage by paying Medicare and Social Security taxes for 10 years through any combination of employers. Youll need to have spent 10 years doing taxable work to enroll in Medicare Part A for free. If youve worked for less than 10 years in the US, youll need to pay monthly premiums for Medicare Part A.
However, if your spouse who is 62 or older has enough quarterly credits or receives Social Security benefits, then youll still qualify. You may also be able to qualify based on your spouses work record if youre widowed or divorced.
Scenario #: You Are Turning 65 And Are Not Receiving Social Security But You Want To Sign Up For Medicare
This is an increasingly-common scenario as more people are choosing to delay their Social Security. In this case, there are actions that you must take to enroll in Medicare, if you wish to have Medicare start at age 65.
You will still be automatically enrolled into Medicare Part A . However, Medicare does not assume that you want Medicare Part B if you are not receiving Social Security. You will still receive a Medicare card automatically about 3 months before you turn 65 however, the card will only reflect Medicare Part A. You will need to proactively sign up for Medicare Part B.
To do this, you can go on Social Securitys website to apply for Medicare online OR you can visit a local Social Security office to enroll in Medicare without taking Social Security benefits. This should be done 2-3 months before your Medicare start date, which will be the 1st day of the month that you turn 65.
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What Other Important Information Do You Need To Know About Medicare Enrollment In Parts A And B
- You can sign up for both Medicare Parts A and B but you dont have to sign up for Part B.
- If you want to enroll in Part B later on, you may sign up during the SEP if your circumstances qualify as an eligible life event. If not, you can wait for the General or Open Enrollment Period and receive delayed benefits, pay a late enrollment fee or be charged a higher premium.
- If you live in Puerto Rico, theres no automatic enrollment for Part B. You will have to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period or you will be charged a penalty.
Documents Needed If You Sign Up In Person
- An original or certified copy of your birth certificate or other proof of birth
- Proof of United States citizenship or legal residency if not born in the U.S.
- Your Social Security card if you are already receiving benefits
- A copy of your most recent W-2 form and/or self-employment tax return
- U.S. military discharge papers if you served before 1968
- Health insurance information
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