Am I Automatically Signed Up For Medicare When I Turn 65
The short answer is no, unless you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If youre already receiving those benefits, youll receive your Medicare card in the mail before your 65th birthday.
Otherwise, youll have to sign up for Medicare on your own and you may or may not be notified about your eligibility. Thats why it is even more important to know your Initial Enrollment Period dates so you are ready to enroll when its your time.
The Magic Medicare Age: 65
The most common way that participants get Medicare coverage is when they turn 65. The initial enrollment period for Medicare begins three months before the month that contains your 65th birthday, and it continues for three months after that birthday. As a result, you have an initial seven-month period during which you can sign up for Medicare.
Medicare coverage for those turning 65 isn’t automatic, so you will have to take action to sign up. If you sign up during the months before your 65th birthday, then coverage for most people kicks in on the first day of your birthday month. If your birthday is on the first day of the month, however, then coverage begins on the first day of the previous month.
If you wait until the month you turn 65 or later, there’ll typically be a lag before your Medicare benefits start. There’s a one-month delay if you sign up during your birthday month, a two-month delay if you sign up the month after your birthday, and a three-month delay for those signing up later in the initial enrollment period. Those who sign up during the general enrollment period that runs from January 1 to March 31 have their coverage begin on July 1.
How To Apply Online For Just Medicare
If you are within three months of turning age 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later. It takes less than 10 minutes, and there are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required.
To find out what documents and information you need to apply, go to the .
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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 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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How Long Does It Take To Sign Up
That depends on the method you choose. It can take as little as 10 minutes to sign up online, a month or more by phone or, if you prefer to sign up in person, it will depend on how long it takes to get an appointment.
- Medicaid number, if applicable, with start and end dates.
- Start and end dates for group health insurance through your employer.
- Start and end dates of employment with the employer providing your group health plan.
Once your account is set up, you can start the Medicare application process here. Its unlikely that youll need to sign anything physically.
When youre finished applying online, youll get a confirmation number. Keep it handy and use it to check the status of your application through your My Social Security account. Social Security will let you know if more information is needed.4
When Will You Get Your Medicare Card
If youre already receiving benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, expect the packet to arrive about three months before you turn 65.
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Coverage When Signing Up During Your Initial Enrollment Period
- Example: If your 65th birthday is May 7, 2020, and you sign up for Medicare between February and April of 2020, your coverage will begin on May 1, 2020.
If your birthday falls on the first day of themonth, your coverage starts on the first day of the month before your birthdaymonth.
- Example: If your 65th birthday is October 1, 2020, and you sign up for Medicare between June and August of 2020, your coverage will begin on September 1, 2020.
Enrolling In Medicare Advantage
To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will need to have Original Medicare coverage and live in an area where an Advantage plan is offered.
A Medicare Advantage plan will wrap your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage into one plan. But youll still have to pay the government a premium for Part B, in addition to the premium you pay for Medicare Advantage .
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan when youre first eligible for Medicare, or during the annual Medicare open enrollment period in the fall .
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Your First Chance To Sign Up
Generally, when you turn 65. This is called your Initial Enrollment Period. It lasts for 7 months, starting 3 months before you turn 65, and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Avoid the penaltyIf you miss your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. The penalty goes up the longer you wait. You may also have to pay a penalty if you have to pay a Part A premium, also called Premium-Part A.
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 .
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What Should You Do Once You Get Medicare
Although you can rely on Original Medicare alone, 86% of Medicare enrollees also have some type of additional coverage.2 It can be from an employer, a privately-purchased plan or from a government-run program like Medicaid. Original Medicare pays for a great deal of healthcare, but still leaves you with potentially costly gaps in healthcare coverage. Supplementary plans can cover these gaps including deductibles and copayments at a fraction of the out-of-pocket rate.
MedicareGuide.coms plan selector is designed to intelligently bring you the best Medicare Supplement plans. These plans, also known as Medigap policies, fill the gaps in coverage that you would otherwise be charged by Original Medicare.
Medigap Open Enrollment Period
You can sign up for a Medigap plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Although it sounds similar to your Initial Enrollment Period and Medicare Open Enrollment Period, it is different.
Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period isa six-month period of time that begins the month you turn 65 and enroll in Part B. If you do not enroll in Part B during the month you turn 65, it begins when you enroll in Part B.
Enrolling in a Medigap plan during your Open Enrollment Period comes with a few benefits. You will get the best prices, and you wont be subject to medical underwriting. This means that you are guaranteed to be accepted into the plan of your choice, regardless of any healthcare problems you may currently have.
Special Enrollment Period For Parts A And B
Some people with health care coverage through their job or union, or through their spouse’s job or union, wait to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B . If you or your spouse are actively working for an employer with more than 20 employees when you turn 65, you can get a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Parts A and/or B:
- Any time you’re still covered by the employer or union group health plan through you or your spouses current employment or
- During the eight months following the month the employer or union group health plan coverage ends, or when the employment ends .
If you delay enrolling even longer, you may have to wait for coverage and you may pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty surcharge on your Medicare premiums.
If you’re under age 65, and eligible for Medicare because you’re disabled and working , the SEP rules also apply to you as long as the employer has more than 100 employees.
When Should I Sign Up For Medicare
Generally, we advise people to file for Medicare benefits 3 months before age 65. Remember, Medicare benefits can begin no earlier than age 65. If you are already receiving Social Security, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B without an additional application. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. You will receive a Medicare card about two months before age 65. If you would like to file for Medicare only, you can apply by calling 1-800-772-1213. Our representatives there can make an appointment for you at any convenient Social Security office and advise you what to bring with you. When you apply for Medicare, we often also take an application for monthly benefits. You can apply for retirement benefits online.
If you didnt sign up when you were first eligible for Medicare, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period between January 1 and March 31 each year, unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
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When Should You Apply For Medicare If You Have Employer Health Coverage
Most people should sign up for Medicare Part A when theyre first eligible because it rarely costs anything. But some people delay enrolling in Part B because they dont want to pay the monthly premium. The decision usually depends on the type of health coverage you already have.
You can put off enrolling in Part B at age 65 if you have group health coverage through your or your spouses job and the employer has at least 20 employees.6 Youll be able to enroll with no penalty during the Special Enrollment Period that follows the end of your employers insurance. You can also choose to enroll in Part B while still insured and pay the premium.
If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you should apply for Part A and Part B as soon as youre eligible.7
Be sure to talk to your employers benefits administrator about how signing up for Medicare will affect your coverage or Health Savings Account .8 You cannot contribute to an HSA if you have Medicare Part A. Your administrator can help you time the beginning and end of your coverage through work and your new health insurance so theres no gap in your coverage.
When your group coverage is ending, youll need to complete documentation and submit it to your Social Security office. If you have questions, ask Social Security.
How Do You Apply By Phone
Call 772-1213 or TTY 325-0778 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Monday through Friday.5 Keep in mind that this process takes longer because forms have to be mailed to you, which you then complete and send back. At peak times, applying for Medicare by phone could take a month or more.
If you worked at a railroad, you can enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board at 772-5772 or TTY 751-4701, 9AM 3:30PM, Monday Friday.
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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.
When To Apply For Medicare
While there are exceptions, in general, adults become eligible for Medicare on their 65th birthday. In fact, more than 11,000 people turn age 65 daily and get their eligibility for coverage. This is often a source of confusion because originally you got your Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time .
Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits are no longer linked. If you retire at the earliest age possible, which is age 62, you wont receive your Medicare benefits until age 65. However, if you delay taking Social Security until age 70, your Medicare benefits will start at age 65 anyway. In all cases, you can apply for Medicare up to three months prior to your 65th birthday to make sure your benefits start on time.
Medicare is also available to adults with Social Security disability benefits. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance , your Medicare benefits start on the 25th month of your Social Security benefits.
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Delaying Medicare Due To Work: Special Enrollment Period
If you didn’t enroll in Medicare because you were still working, and you were covered under a group health plan based on employment, you have a Special Enrollment Period during which you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B. While you or your spouse are still working and you’re still covered under a group health plan, you can sign up anytime.
After your or your spouse’s employment ends, your Special Enrollment Period lasts eight months, starting the month after the employment or group health plan ends . However, you have only two months after the employment or group health plan ends to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan . You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan starting three months before your Medicare Part B enrollment is due to take effect up to the day before your Part B coverage startsbut again, enrollment must take place within two months of your employment or group health plan ending.
Judy’s last day of work is July 1 and her group health plan ends July 31. She has eight months, until April 30, to sign up for Part B without a penalty. But if she wants to join a Medicare Advantage plan, she needs to do so by September 30 . Instead, on June 15, Judy signs up for Part B coverage to begin on August 1, so that she won’t have a gap in coverage. She has only until July 31 to add a Medicare Advantage plan . Her Medicare Advantage plan will start August 1.
Making Changes To Medicare: Open Enrollment Period
If you already have Medicare Parts A and B, you have an Open Enrollment Period every year between October 15 and December 7. During open enrollment, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. You can also switch from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan during this time. If you want to switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to traditional Medicare, you can do so during open enrollment or during the special Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period that runs from January 1 through February 14 each year. Once you select a new plan to enroll in, you’ll be disenrolled automatically from your old plan when your new plan’s coverage begins.
When coverage begins. When you switch coverage during the Open Enrollment Period, your new coverage starts January 1. When you switch back to traditional Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, your coverage will start on the first day of the month after the month in which you disenroll.
Special trial period for first year you join a Medicare Advantage plan. If you first join a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can drop the plan anytime during the first 12 months. But you can only switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan during an Open Enrollment Period .
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