How To Apply For Medicare
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:
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.
How To Apply For Medicare Through The Rrb
If you worked for the railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 877-772-5772 or submit an online service request through the RRB website.
The best time to apply is during the Medicare Initial Enrollment Period. Or, you can sign up during the Medicare General Enrollment Period.
Note: If you are still working, you can still sign up for RRB Medicare coverage when you turn 65. No need to retire.
If you, or a family member, are already receiving a railroad retirement annuity, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. Coverage begins when you turn 65.
How To Apply For Medicare Through Social Security
Apply online: The easiest way to complete the Medicare enrollment application is online at ssa.gov. Its convenient to sign up from home. You can start and stop the application and save your information. After you submit your application, youll get a receipt to print and keep. You can also check the status of your application.
Apply in person: Visit your local Social Security office. You can find the nearest office with the Social Security office locator. They recommend that you make an appointment.
Apply by phone: Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 .
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If You Do Medicare Sign
- Read in app
Tony Farrell turned 65 four years ago the age when most people shift their health coverage to Medicare. But he was still employed and covered by his companys group insurance.
When his birthday came around, he began researching whether he needed to move to Medicare, and determined he could stick with his employers plan, said Mr. Farrell, a marketing and merchandising executive for specialty retailers. At the time, he was working for a company that makes infomercials in San Francisco.
Four months later, Mr. Farrell was laid off, but he kept the companys health insurance for himself and his family under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act , the federal law that allows employees to pay for coverage as long as 36 months after a worker leaves a job.
I just thought, this is great the coverage wont change, he recalled. I was just relying on my own logic and experience, and felt that if I didnt need a government service, I wouldnt sign up for it.
But Mr. Farrell unknowingly ran afoul of one of the complex rules that govern the transition to Medicare and now he is paying the price.
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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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.
How To Sign Up For Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans: When Can I Enroll
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are voluntary, additional coverage that helps fills the gaps in coverage for Original Medicare. The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan is during your individual Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is the six-month period that begins on the first day of the month you turn 65 and have Medicare Part B. If you decide to delay your enrollment in Medicare Part B for certain reasons such as having health coverage based on current employment, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period will not begin until you sign up for Part B.
During your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you have a guaranteed-issue right to buy any Medigap plan sold in your state. This means that insurance companies cannot reject your application for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan based on pre-existing health conditions or disabilities. They also cannot charge you a higher premium based on your health status. Outside of this open enrollment period, you may not be able to join any Medigap plan you want, and insurers can require you to undergo medical underwriting. You may have to pay more if you have health problems or disabilities.
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Do You Have To Renew Original Medicare Part B
You do not have to renew Part B coverage as long as you continue to pay the monthly premiums. In most cases, this premium is subtracted on a monthly basis from your Social Security payments or, if you dont receive Social Security, youll get a monthly bill.
If you do not pay your premium for three months in a row, youll get a cancellation notice. While you can pay your missed payments after your cancelation notice, you only have a short time to do so, and then you will lose your Part B coverage.
You can then re-enroll in Part B in the General Enrollment Period , though youll likely face a late enrollment penalty.
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.
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Medicare Special Enrollment Period
Special situations may come up that give you the chance to sign up for or change your Medicare plan outside of your Initial Enrollment Period or the Annual Enrollment Period.
There are several special cases that make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
Here are some common situations:
- You move: If you move to an address outside your plans service area, into a nursing home, or you have different plan options at your new address, youll be able to apply for a new plan.
- You want to switch to a 5-star Medicare plan: Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Medicare considers these plans excellent. You can make the switch once to a 5-star plan anytime from Dec. 8 through Nov. 30 if one is available in your area.
- You lose your current coverage: This applies if you or your spouse will retire or change to a job that doesnt offer coverage. It doesnt apply if your insurance company cancels your coverage because you didnt pay your monthly premiums.
- Your plan changes its contract with Medicare: Enrollment in a plan depends on the plans contract with Medicare, and for various reasons these contracts could change.
Your new coverage begins on the first day of the month after you sign up.
Whens The Best Time To Sign Up For Medicare Benefits
1) If youre signing up for both Part A and Part B, apply for Medicare once your Initial Enrollment Period starts. This will allow you plenty of time to get your Medicare card before your 65th birthday month.
2) Most people apply for Part A during their Initial Enrollment Period if they plan on keeping group employer health coverage. Then they apply for Part B during the Special Enrollment Period. Ideally, its best to coordinate Medicare to start immediately after your group employer health coverage ends.
3) If you have Medicare because of a disability or receive Social Security benefits, youre automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B.
Thank you for reading our article When to Sign Up for Medicare Benefits? . At REMEDIGAP, we strive to provide the tools you need to make informed decisions about your Medicare benefits. Our video page, blog articles and are full of valuable information to help you make important decisions about your Medicare coverage.
In addition, weve created a Medicare eCourse where you receive one email a day for a week. Each email covers important topics about Medicare and Medigap insurance. Most importantly the eCourse is designed to make Medicare less confusing. Sign up for the eCourse here ====> www.remedigap.com/ecourse
As you learn about Medicare, you may have many questions or none at all. Either way, we customize our approach based on your needs. Most importantly, our service is free to everyone!
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Things You Should Know About Signing Up For Medicare
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It may come as a surprise, but for many people, health care becomes more complicated after age 65 not less. Whether you’re signing up around your 65th birthday or during the general enrollment period that runs from Jan. 1 to March 31, its important to understand your coverage options so you can continue to access the medications and care you need. Here are a few things you should know about Medicare:
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.
When Can I Enroll In Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
Medicare prescription drug coverage is optional and does not occur automatically. You can receive coverage for prescription drugs by either signing up for a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, also known as a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan. Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans are available through private insurers. Please note that you cannot have both a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan and a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
As You Approach 65 Explore Your Choices And Pay Attention To Deadlines
These days, turning 65 doesn’t have to mean hanging up your career. But it does represent one big milestone: Medicare eligibility. In most cases, signing up for Medicare Part A is a no-brainer. This coverage pays for in-patient care in the hospital. There’s generally no premium, although you do pay a deductible and share other costs.
You can sign up as early as three months before the month in which you turn 65 and as late as three months after your 65th-birthday month. To avoid any delay in coverage, enroll before you turn 65, says Joe Baker, of the Medicare Rights Center.
At the same time, you can also enroll in Medicare Part B, which covers doctors’ visits and outpatient care. This coverage exacts a monthly premium , plus a deductible and coinsurance. If you still have health coverage through work or are covered by your spouse’s employer, you may be better off keeping that coverage and delaying Part B. Ask your employer for help deciding, or call Social Security at 800-772-1213.
Once you lose employer coverage, you have eight months in which to sign up for Part B . If you don’t sign up for Part B within that window, you’ll have to wait until the next open-enrollment period , and your monthly premium will permanently increase by 10% for each 12-month period you delay.
To sign up for Medicare parts A and B, call 800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.
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Signing Up For Medicare When Youre First Eligible
The most common time for people to sign up for Medicare is during the Initial Enrollment Period. It applies to anyone turning 65 years young. If you plan on retiring and youre not going to have employer group health coverage, then this is the time to apply for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
The Initial Enrollment Period lasts for 7 months. It begins 3 months before your birthday month. It includes your birthday month and the 3 months after.
If you sign up for Medicare during the 3 months before your 65th birthday month, in most cases, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month.
However, if your birthday is the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the prior month. So, if your birthday is May 1, your Medicare coverage will start on the 1st day of April.
But, if your birthday is anywhere between the 2nd through the last day of the month, your coverage will begin on the first day of that month. For example, a birthday on May 17 will result in an effective date of May 1.
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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When To Enroll In Medicare If I Dont Want Medicare Part B
If youre automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B, but do not wish to keep it you have a few options to drop the coverage. If your Medicare coverage hasnt started yet and you were sent a red, white, and blue Medicare card, you can follow the instructions that come with your card and send the card back. If you keep the Medicare card, you keep Part B and will need to pay Part B premiums. If you signed up for Medicare through Social Security, then you will need to contact them to drop Part B coverage. If your Medicare coverage has started and you want to drop Part B, contact Social Security for instructions on how to submit a signed request. Your coverage will end the first day of the month after Social Security gets your request.
If you have health coverage through current employment , you may decide to delay Medicare Part B enrollment. You should speak with your employers health benefits administrator so that you understand how your current coverage works with Medicare and what the consequences would be if you drop Medicare Part B.
Special Enrollment Periods For Medicare
Medicare Special Enrollment Periods can happen any time during the year due to changes in your circumstances.
When Medicare Special Enrollment Is Allowed
- When you move somewhere outside of the coverage area of your Medicare Advantage plan.
- When you leave your employers health insurance plan.
- When Medicare ends its contract with your Medicare Advantage provider.
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When Does Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment For 2022 Begin And End
There are no yearly open enrollment periods or deadlines for Medicare Supplement plans like there are for other kinds of Medicare coverage.
Instead, you can buy or change MedSup or Medigap policies any time you want. Most people do so during a six-month Medigap open enrollment period, though. This period starts the same month you enroll in Medicare Part B.
If you wait until after your Medigap open enrollment period to buy or change this type of coverage, you may not be able to find an insurance company that will sell it to you. And even if you do, you might pay a lot more for it.