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.
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.
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.
Enrolling In Original Medicare
When it comes to Original Medicare, enrollment could be a piece of cake. If youre already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits and youre a U.S. resident, the government automatically enrolls you in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B at age 65. Three months prior to your 65th birthday, your Medicare card will arrive in the mail with instructions.
At this point, youll have the option to turn down Medicare Part B . But you probably wont want to do that unless you have coverage from your own or your spouses current employer, and the employer has at least 20 employees. Thats a valid reason for delaying your enrollment in Medicare Part B.
If you decide to not enroll in Part B, but plan to enroll at a later date, know that you could end up having to pay a higher premium 10% higher for each year you could have enrolled, but didnt. The penalty doesnt apply, however, if the reason you didnt initially enroll in Part B coverage was that you had employer-sponsored health insurance from your current employer, including TRICARE from current military employment.
If you havent yet enrolled in Social Security but are eligible and want to begin receiving benefits, you can enroll online, or at a local Social Security office. Be sure you understand how your benefits depend on the age at which you start receiving them, and theres no right or wrong answer in terms of when you should activate your benefits.
If You Are Under Age 65 And Disabled:
If you are under age 65 and disabled, and have been entitled to disability benefits under Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months, you will be automatically entitled to Medicare Part A and Part B beginning the 25th month of disability benefit entitlement. You will not need to do anything to enroll in Medicare. Your Medicare card will be mailed to you about 3 months before your Medicare entitlement date. , you get your Medicare benefits the first month you get disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.) For more information about enrollment, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security web site. See also Social Security’s Medicare FAQs.
For more information, see Medicare.gov
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Dont Register For Medicare Alone
If youre uncomfortable with applying for Medicare alone, we can help! Our services are completely free for you. If you would like an agent by your side when applying, contact us. We can walk you through setting up all your coverage, including Medicare, Medigap, Part D, and more.
Plus, when you use us to apply, you get unlimited support from our Client Service Team. That means if you have any issues with claims or appeals, we can help at no additional cost. You can compare rates online or give us a call today at the number above.
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When To Apply For Medicare
Medicare is separate from your application for Social Security income benefits. People age into Medicare at age 65, regardless of whether they are taking retirement income benefits yet. If you are a citizen age 65 or older and need medical insurance, you are entitled to enroll in Medicare. You can also qualify for Medicare early due to certain disabilities, having Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis , or End-Stage Renal disease and need a transplant or on dialysis.
Dont expect that Medicare will notify you of when its time to sign-up either. This can be especially important for those who live out of the country.
If you are already taking Social Security income benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65. Your card should arrive 1-2 months before you turn 65. This timeframe also applies to those who qualify early due to disability. However, you will not automatically receive Part B benefits if you live in Puerto Rico. This means you will need to apply for Part B even if you receive Social Security benefits before age 65.
If you are NOT yet taking retirement benefits, then you will need to submit a Medicare application yourself. The government expects for you to know when to enroll. Lets look at the timeline for when and how to register for Medicare.
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When To Sign Up For Medicare Part B
If youre retiring, the best time to enroll in Part B is during your Initial Enrollment Period. For those still working past 65, check with your health administrators whether your employer coverage is creditable.
If it is, you can enroll in Part B when you retire or leave your group health plan. Youll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when you can enroll without any penalties. If your group health plan is not considered creditable coverage, then you should register for Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period.
If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period, the next enrollment window you can enroll in Part A and Part B is the General Enrollment Period.
How To Sign Up For Medicare Coverage
Medicare enrollment is not difficult. If you qualify for automatic enrollment, then there is nothing that you need to do! You will be signed up automatically, and you will receive your card in the mail. Your coverage starts the first day of the month in which you turn 65. It is that simple! If, however, you need to enroll manually, then you have a few options.
First, you can visit your local Social Security office to sign up. Since the Social Security Administration plays a large role in Medicare eligibility, they help manage and maintain enrollment. However, the easiest way to sign up is by completing the online application for Medicare at SSA.gov. Signing up for Medicare online is the fastest and easiest way to get your Medicare benefits started. It will save you lots of time and energy and avoid a trip to the Social Security office. If you have any questions about the process, you can always contact Social Security and ask for assistance.
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Should I Take Medicare Part B
You should take Medicare Part A when you are eligible. However, some people may not want to apply for Medicare Part B when they become eligible.
You can delay enrollment in Medicare Part B without penalty if you fit one of the following categories.
Employer group health plans may cover items normally not covered by Medicare Part B. If so, and you meet one of the categories above or below, then you may not need to enroll in Medicare Part B and pay the monthly premium.
If you are:
- a spouse of an active worker
- a disabled, active worker
- a disabled spouse of an active worker
and choose coverage under the employer group health plan, you can refuse Medicare Part B during the automatic or initial enrollment period. You wait to sign up for Medicare Part B during the special enrollment period, an eight month period that begins the month the group health coverage ends or the month employment ends, whichever comes first.
You will not be enrolling late, so you will not have any penalty.
If you choose coverage under the employer group health plan and are still working, Medicare will be the “secondary payer,” which means the employer plan pays first.
If the employer group health plan does not pay all the patient’s expenses, Medicare may pay the entire balance, a portion, or nothing. An employer group health plan must be primary or nothing.
When To Enroll In Medicare
We have discussed the different parts of Medicare and who is eligible for coverage, but when do you need to enroll? The time at which you enroll can have a big effect on the premium that you pay, so you will want to make sure that you enroll at the proper time that leads to the lowest costs for you.
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Explore Your Other Medicare Coverage Options
Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can explore additional coverage options.
You can decide to:
- Add a Medigap supplement insurance policy.
- Add a Part D prescription drug plan.
- Switch to a Medicare Advantage plan also known as Part C to replace your Original Medicare coverage.
Medicare Part D, Medigap and Medicare Advantage are all administered by private insurance companies that contract with CMS.
You can apply for these benefits online.
Use the Medicare Plan Finder tool to explore and compare plans in your area.
Ask: Have My Health Care Needs Changed
Things change in life, and some changes may affect the kind or amount of health care you need. For example:
- A new diagnosis might mean more doctor visits or new medications
- An advancing illness may increase the number or length of hospital stays or require home care
- Additional medications may be needed to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or heart disease
- Maybe you have a planned surgery coming up.
Examples like these can help get you thinking, but whats important is to look carefully at your health care needs past, present and, as much as possible, future. Only then can you choose the type of coverage and specific plans that may best meet your personal needs.
Once you have a good handle on your health care needs, its time to look at your current coverage.
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How To Enroll In Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, is a private bundled health insurance plan. It offers the same coverage as parts A and B. If often provides prescription coverage as well. Some Medicare Advantage plans also cover vision, dental, and other healthcare benefits.
This plan may place a yearly cap on your out-of-pocket costs. That can be helpful if you expect to have any large healthcare expenses.
But a Medicare Advantage plan will be an additional cost on top of any premiums you pay for other parts of Medicare. Many Medicare Advantage plans will cover some or all of your Medicare Part B premium costs. Weigh your healthcare needs with the costs of coverage when .
If you want to enroll in Medicare Advantage, you can sign up during your initial enrollment period. You can also change your selections during Medicares open enrollment period from October 15 through December 7. If you sign up outside these times, you may pay a late-enrollment fee, and your coverage wont begin until July 1.
You have two ways to sign up for Medicare Part C:
- Online. Shop for Part C plans with Medicare.govs plan finder tool.
- With a private company. Insurance companies offer Part C plans, and you can enroll directly with them via their website or by phone.
Signing Up For A Medicare Advantage Plan
If you prefer to get your health coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first enroll in Original Medicare Part A and Part B and then switch to a separate Medicare Advantage plan.
All Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same Medicare Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but some plans include other benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, dental and vision.
Medicare Advantage Plans do not all offer the same benefits.
Use the Medicare Plan Finder or call your local SHIP representative to compare plans in your area.
Four Ways to Sign Up for a Medicare Advantage Plan
To join a Medicare Advantage plan, you will need your Medicare number and the date your Part A and Part B coverage began.
Don’t Leave Your Health to Chance
When Can You Add A Medicare Supplement Plan
You can sign up for a plan during your open enrollment period. This period lasts six months and begins the first day of the month in which you are 65 or older* and enrolled in Original Medicare Part B. You must also be signed up for Original Medicare Part A. During this open enrollment period, carriers cannot ask about medical conditions*. If you apply outside the open enrollment period, insurance companies can ask about health conditions* and acceptance is not guaranteed.
*Note: Not all states allow health underwriting and some states offer plan to those under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare due to reasons other than age.
When Are You Eligible To Sign Up For Original Medicare
The best time to apply is during your initial enrollment period. Thats the three months before, the month you turn 65, and the three months after. This will help you avoid fees or delays in coverage. If you have questions or are wondering about signing up for Medicare while still working, we can . You can also find out more about .
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When To Enroll In Medicare If I Am Receiving Disability Benefits
If you are under 65 and receiving certain disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, after 24 months of disability benefits. The exception to this is if you have end-stage renal disease . If you have ESRD and had a kidney transplant or need regular kidney dialysis, you can apply for Medicare. If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , you will automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare in the same month that your disability benefits start
Do You Have To Sign Up For Medicare If You Are Still Working
The most common reason for people not signing up for Medicare when they turn 65 is because they are still working. Because theyre still working, theyre likely covered under their employers health insurance plan and are also unlikely to be collecting Social Security retirement benefits.
Being covered under your employer-provided health insurance plan has no bearing on your Medicare eligibility. Medicare works in conjunction with several other types of health insurance including health insurance provided by employers or unions and wont prevent you from enrolling.
However, if you are not collecting Social Security retirement benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you will not be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. In this case, you will have to manually sign up for Medicare when youre ready to enroll.
Many people choose to delay their Social Security retirement benefits until a later age when they can collect the full amount. If you choose to delay your retirement benefits, you must still sign up for Medicare manually once youre eligible in order to avoid any late enrollment penalties .
Some people who are still working sign up for Medicare anyway, because Medicare can work as extra insurance along with an employer group health insurance plan. Some people may decide that Medicare is more affordable than their employers insurance, so they may continue working but disenroll from their group plan and enroll in Medicare instead.
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