How to sign up for Medicare at age 65
How to Enroll in Medicare, it’s critically important to understand when you should enroll in Medicare because there are applicable penalties if you miss your deadline. For many people, enrolling in Medicare Part A is automatic. Nonetheless, there are a few instances where you may have to enroll manually in Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period. Call 844-528-8688 for a free no obligation Medicare consultation. Continue reading for details about when and how to sign up for Medicare.
When You Should Enroll in Medicare
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) at age 65 is the seven-month time period that commences three months before you are age 65, which includes the month of your 65th birthday, and concludes three months after that.
Some scenarios where you would manually enroll in Original Medicare during your IEP include:
You are receiving Social Security retirement benefits:
- How to Enroll in Medicare, If you’re receiving any retirement benefits and you are closing in on age 65, your Medicare card will be sent to you approximately 90 days before your 65th birthday.
You are not receiving Social Security retirement benefits:
- How to Enroll in Medicare, If you’re not receiving any retirement benefits and you are closing in on age 65, you can enroll in Medicare during your IEP. However, if you decide to delay getting your Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits beyond 65, you will have an option to enroll in Medicare and apply for your Social Security retirements at some later date
If you are unable to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits:
- How to Enroll in Medicare, If you don’t qualify for Social Security retirement or Railroad retirement benefits, you will need to manually enroll in Medicare during your IEEP. You might be ineligible for free Part A coverage and if so, the amount of your monthly Part A premium will be based on how long you worked and much Medicare taxes were paid in. Like everyone else, you will be responsible for your Part B premiums.
How to Enroll in Medicare | The General Enrollment Period
If you failed to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) when you were first eligible to do so, you can still enroll during the General Enrollment Period.
How to Enroll in Medicare during the general enrollment period. This period is the same for everyone who is eligible to enroll in Original Medicare and commences on January 1 and runs through March 31 each year. Some enrollees may be required to pay a late penalty since they didn’t enroll in Part A and/or Part B when they first became eligible
The Medicare Special Enrollment Period
Some people choose not to enroll in Part B coverage because they already have health insurance through an employer or union.
If they should lose that coverage or simply decide to switch from employer-sponsored health insurance to Original Medicare Part B, they can do so if they are still covered under the group health plan or during Medicare's Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
The SEP is an eight-month period that commences either the month your employment ends or when your employer-sponsored group health insurance ends, whichever event happens first. If you are eligible to enroll during the SEP, you will typically not be charged a late penalty.
It’s important to note that COBRA benefits and retiree health insurance coverage are not considered employer coverage (group health insurance) and therefore you would not qualify for a SEP. Also, the SEP does not apply if you have End Stage Renal Disease and you are eligible for Medicare.
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What is Medicare
On July 30, 1965, the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law new legislation that created and established the Medicare and Medicaid programs for Americans.
The Medicare program included two separate coverage's, Part A which serves as hospital insurance, and Part B, which serves as medical insurance. Currently, the two parts of Medicare are referred to as “Original Medicare.”
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A is the coverage that takes care of inpatient hospital expenses and skilled nursing facilities. Part A also covers hospice care and certain home health care services but it does not cover expenses for custodial services or long-term care services.
Enrollees do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they or their spouse has previously paid for it through taxes deducted from their paychecks over their lifetime.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is the coverage that helps pay for medical services provided by doctors while you are an outpatient. Part B will also cover some of the medical services not paid by Part A.
These are services like physical and occupational therapy, and some home health care services (must be medically necessary). Your Part B coverage is paid for on a monthly basis and usually changes on an annual basis.
Enrolling in Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage
Since Part D is a stand-alone coverage and is optional, you must always manually enroll to receive these benefits. Applicants can get prescription drug coverage by either enrolling in a stand-alone Part D plan or by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers Part D coverage.
Both Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage Plans are provided by private insurance companies. You cannot, however, have a Part D prescription drug plan and a Medicare Advantage plan the includes prescription drug coverage simultaneously.
Part D Initial Enrollment Period
You qualify for enrolling in Part D drug coverage if you reside in the service area covered by the health plan and you are enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and/or Part B.
The IEP for Part D is the same and the IEP for Medicare Part B. As with Medicare Part A and Part B, if you do not enroll for Part D or a Medicare Advantage Plan that has drug coverage when you are first eligible, you will likely be required to pay a late enrollment fee to the private insurance company you select for coverage.
Enrolling Into Medicare - Final Note
Although most married adults generally have had health insurance that covers them both and any children on one insurance plan, Medicare does not offer a plan for married couples. Each eligible adult in the household must purchase their own separate plan.