For some, enrolling in Medicare can be an overwhelming, complicated process.
But fret not, friends! We’re here to uncomplicate the Medicare enrollment process for you. In this article, you’ll learn how you can enroll in Medicare – the uncomplicated way. And some important things to keep in mind about enrollment.
When to Enroll In Medicare
First things first. Let’s talk about the best time to enroll in Medicare. There are a few different scenarios to keep in mind. Here’s a quick rundown:
By the time you’re 65, you should apply for Medicare. The enrollment window for Medicare starts three months prior to your 65th birthday. If you didn’t get around to enrolling before your 65th birthday, that’s okay! The enrollment period extends three months after the month you turn 65. So, in all you have a 7 month window in which to enroll.
However, it is best to sign up BEFORE you turn 65. If you wait until the month of your birthday (or in the 3 months after) there is a higher chance that your Medicare Part B coverage will be delayed. And you probably don’t want that. This is why it is highly recommended for you to apply in the early months.
Oh, and one more thing about the enrollment period. Don’t miss it! If you don’t apply in the 7 month window mentioned above, you can still apply but you’ll pay some hefty penalties.
For Seniors Already Receiving Social Security Benefits
If you already receive Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B the month you turn 65.
Your Medicare card will arrive in the mail three months before you turn 65. It will be sent to the address you listed on your Social Security records. So if your address has changed, update your records with the government as soon as possible.
You’ll get a package in the mail that has all the important information about the decisions you need to make and arrange for your Medicare plan. Your package comes with a helpful Medicare Enrollment Booklet which will provide you with clear information for both Medicare Part A and B. This will help you make the best choices for you.
If you are already enrolled in a non-Medicare insurance plan by your employer, you can enroll in Part B. But it is not required you do. That said, don’t just brush off the Part B plan of Medicare. You should take time to learn about Medicare Part B so you can decide if you should sign up.
For Seniors Not Yet Receiving Social Security Benefits
If you’re a senior who hasn’t received Social Security Benefits yet, you are also eligible to sign up for Medicare three months prior to your 65th birthday. The difference is your enrollment will not happen automatically.
In this case, you simply need to call Medicare for enrollment. Or you can also do it online. As soon as you are eligible to do so, it is best to apply for Medicare Part A immediately. This is also true for those who still have coverage through a group health plan.
How To Enroll In Medicare
To enroll in Medicare Part A and/or B, you can call the Social Security Hotline (1-800-772-1213). Office hours are from 7AM to 7PM, Mondays through Fridays. You can also visit your local Social Security office.
Another option is applying online through the Social Security website (www.SocialSecurity.gov) Again, it is important that you review the package sent to you via mail to see which coverage(s) you should enroll in.