It Pays To Enroll On Time
If you miss your initial enrollment window to sign up for Medicare, you can do so later on. But know this: For each 12-month period youre eligible for coverage but dont apply, youll risk a 10% surcharge on your Part B premiums.
If youre still working during your initial enrollment period and have group health coverage, youll get a special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare later on, and you wont have to worry about that penalty. But otherwise, enrolling on time can not only save you money, but ensure that you have coverage when you need it.
Maurie Backman has been writing professionally for well over a decade, and her coverage area runs the gamut from healthcare to personal finance to career advice. Much of her writing these days revolves around retirement and its various components and challenges, including healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, and money management.
How To Enroll In Medicare Online
To be clear, you dont have to sign up for Medicare online. You can do so over the phone or in person, but if youre looking to save time, completing an online application is probably the best way to go.
The first step in enrolling in Medicare online is creating an account on the Social Security Administrations web site. You do not need to sign up for Social Security at the same time as Medicare, so if thats not your plan, worry not. Youll be asked whether you wish to enroll in one program or both during the signup process.
Next, youll need to provide some basic information like your name, address, and telephone number, and youll also need your Social Security number to complete your application. In addition, youll need information that helps identify you, such as your birth certificate, drivers license, or proof of U.S. citizenship if you werent born in the U.S. If youre not a citizen, youll need your permanent resident card number.
How Do You Get Medicare Part B
- If you get benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board , in most cases you will automatically get Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your Part B will start the first day of the prior month.
- If you are under 65 and disabled, you will automatically get Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months. You will get your Medicare card in the mail about three months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of disability.
- If you do not want Part B, follow the instructions that come with the card, and send the card back. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums.
- If you have ALS , you automatically get Part B the month your disability benefits begin.
Canceling Part B Because You Were Automatically Enrolled
Some people are automatically enrolled in Part B if they’re receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits when they become eligible for Medicare. If that’s you, there’s a good chance your Medicare card will arrive in the mail even if you haven’t applied for benefits.
If you dont want this coverage and dont opt out, youll be responsible for Part B premiums, which may come straight out of your Social Security or RRB checks. But beware: if you opt out of Part B without having creditable coveragethat is, employer-sponsored health insurance from your current job thats as good or better than Medicareyou could face late-enrollment penalties down the line.
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Canceling Part B Because You Got A Job With Insurance
If you have had Part B for a while but no longer need it because youve rejoined the workforce with access to employer-sponsored health insurance, congratulations! But before you drop Part B, find out if your jobs coverage is primary or secondary to Medicare.
A primary payer health plan pays before Medicare. That means your employer-provided health plan will cover its share of your health care costs first, and if theres anything left over that Medicare covers, Medicare will pay what remains.
Conversely, a secondary payer health plan covers only costs left over after Medicare covers its share.
If your health plan at work is a primary payer, thats great. Feel free to drop your Part B coverage if you wish. The Part B premiums might not be worth any additional coverage you receive. But if you have secondary-payer insurance at work, its usually better to keep Part B, or you could get stuck paying Medicares share of your health care expenses.
Talk to your human resources department at work to find out if your employer-sponsored plan is primary or secondary to Medicare. Generally, businesses with 20 or fewer employees have secondary payer plans, while larger companies have primary payer plans.
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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Do I Need An Application Form For Signing Up For Medicare Advantage
If youd like, you may be able enroll in Medicare Advantage as an alternative way to get your Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private health insurance companies that contract with Medicare to deliver your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits with the exception of hospice care, which is still covered under Part A. Many Medicare Advantage plans include benefits beyond Part A and Part B coverage as well for example, some plans offer prescription drug coverage, routine vision care, and/or wellness programs.
There are several types of Medicare Advantage plans, although not every type of plan may be available where you live. Examples of plan types include Health Maintenance Organization plans, Preferred Provider Organization plans, Private Fee-for-Service plans, Special Needs Plans , and Medical Savings Account plans.
To qualify for a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B live within the plans service area and, in many cases, not have end-stage renal disease . You can generally sign up for Medicare Advantage only during certain election periods.
You can compare Medicare Advantage plans available where you live just click Find Plans or Compare Plans on this page. Note that you need to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium, along with any premium the plan may charge.
Canceling Part B Because You Cant Afford The Premiums
If you dont have a job with creditable health care coverage but still dont want to pay Part B premiums, use caution. Without health insurance thats as good or better than Medicare, you could start racking up late-enrollment penalties the longer you go without coverage. If you decide to re-enroll in Part B later, these penalties could make your premiums even less affordable.
If you can’t afford your Part B premiums, consider other options before canceling your coverage. You can apply for Medicaid coverage if you’re in a low-income household or have few assets. Medicare also offers several savings programs, which help qualified individuals pay their Medicare expenses.
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Consequences Of Canceling Part B
If you have a gap in coverage, the Medicare program could tack late-enrollment penalties onto your Part B premiums if you re-enroll in coverage again later. Avoid this pitfall by working with your human resources department to ensure that your company’s insurance is indeed creditable . You may need to provide documentation of creditable coverage during your Part B cancellation interview.
A gap in coverage could also adversely affect your health if you avoid seeing the doctor because you dont have health insurance. And you may have to go without other forms of coverage too. Without Part B, you can’t enroll in other parts of Medicare, such as Part D prescription drug coverage, Medicare Supplement , or Medicare Advantage. These gaps will remain until you re-enroll in Part B again later.
Step By Step Instructions For Filling Out This Application
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When Will I Receive My Medicare Card
Once enrolled, youll receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card. This provides your Part A and Part B benefits.
If you are automatically enrolled in Medicare, your card will arrive in the mail two to three months before your 65th birthday.
Otherwise, youll usually receive your card about three weeks to one month after applying for Medicare.
Your Medicare card will display:
- Your name
- The Medicare plans youre enrolled in
- Start dates for each plan
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, youll receive a second ID card for these benefits.
Youll also receive a separate card if you sign up for a standalone Part D plan.
Which Medicare Parts And Plans Can I Apply For Online
You can get multiple parts of Medicare by applying online:
- Part A.Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. You can apply for Part A online using the Social Security website.
- Part B.Medicare Part B is medical insurance. You can apply for Part B and Part A on the same application. You can also apply for Part B online using the Social Security website if you already have Part A.
- Part C.Medicare Part C is sometimes called Medicare Advantage. You need to have Medicare parts A and B before you can enroll in Medicare Advantage. You can then enroll in a plan in your area using the Medicare website.
- Part D.Medicare Part D is prescription drug insurance. Just like Part C, youll need to be enrolled in Medicare parts A and B before you can pick a Part D plan. You can then enroll in a plan online using the Medicare website.
- Medicare supplement insurance .Medigap plans are optional coverage you can purchase to help cover the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare. You can apply for a Medigap plan online after youve enrolled in parts A and B.
So, your first step to getting any part of Medicare is to apply for original Medicare .
Once youre enrolled in original Medicare, you can shop for Part C, Part D, and Medigap plans. The plans available to you will depend on where you live, since many plans are only offered in specific cities, states, or regions.
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How To Fill Out Form Cms
Form CMS-L564 has two sections, A and B. You will fill out section A and the employer will fill out section B. Youll need to provide the name and address of your or your spouses employers. Then, youll list your name and your Social Security Number . If your spouses employer was the source of your health benefits, youll also need to provide your spouses name and SSN. If it was your job providing the benefits, then youll need to list your name and SSN again.
The employer providing your group health coverage will complete section B of the form. This section includes information about your group health plan, when you began receiving coverage and if youre still receiving it, among other things.
How To Disenroll From Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B helps qualified Americans pay health care costs related to doctor visits, lab testing, preventative services, and more, but this coverage isn’t free, and not everyone needs it. Those who dont need Part B can disenrollbut its not a straightforward process.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services doesnt make it easy to drop this coverage, and you’ll need to speak with a representative to disenroll. If you cancel Part B, it could also impact your ability to afford coverage in the future, so read this entire article before you begin the process.
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How To Cancel Medicare Part B
The Part B cancellation process begins with downloading and printing Form CMS 1763, but dont fill it out yet. Youll need to complete the form during an interview with a representative of the Social Security Administration by phone or in person.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Social Security Administration offices are currently closed. The SSA is still answering phone calls, and you can access many services on its website. See the latest COVID-19 updates.
Call a Licensed Agent:
You can schedule an in-person or over-the-phone interview by contacting the SSA. If you prefer an in-person interview, use the Social Security Office Locator to find your nearest location. During your interview, fill out Form CMS 1763 as directed by the representative. If youve already received your Medicare card, youll need to return it during your in-person interview or mail it back after your phone interview.
What happens next depends on why youre canceling your Part B coverage.
Look Closely At Your Bill
The type of “Medicare Premium Bill” you get shows if you’re at risk of losing your Medicare coverage for late payments:
If the box in the upper right corner says
|This is not a bill||You signed up for Medicare Easy Pay. Your premium payment will be automatically deducted from your bank account around the 20th of each month.||You dont need to do anything.|
|First Bill||This is your very first bill, or youve paid your last bill in full.||Send in payment for the total amount due. Medicare must get your payment by the bill’s due date or it’s considered late.|
|Second Bill||Medicare didnt get your full payment by the due date shown on the First Bill.||Send in payment for the total amount due by the bill’s due date.|
|Delinquent Bill||Medicare didnt get your full payment by the due date shown on the Second Bill. If you don’t pay the total amount due, you’ll lose your Medicare coverage.||Send in payment for the total amount due by the bill’s due date so that you dont lose your Medicare coverage. This is the last bill youll get.|
All Medicare bills are due on the 25th of the month. In most cases, your premium is due the same month that you get the bill. For example, Medicare runs the bill for April on March 27th. You’ll get the bill in early April, and it’s due on April 25th.
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