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HOW TO SIGN UP FOR MEDICARE

How to sign up for  Medicare?

When you’re turning 65 and looking to apply for Medicare, you can sign up for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Part A is an entitlement and generally, there is no cost for Part A. However, because you must pay a monthly premium in order to have Part B coverage, you can decline to enroll and turn it down. You should keep in mind that if you later decide to enrol in Part B, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty each month for as long as you have Part B coverage. In other words, the penalty is charged and deducted from your social security check every month for the rest of your life.  How much is the penalty?: Your monthly premium will be increased 10 percent for each twelve (12) month period you were eligible for Medicare Part B, but didn’t sign up for it, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.

Its important to understand when you’re supposed to enroll and make sure that you do to avoid the penalty described above.  If you’re eligible at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three (3) months before your 65th birthday, it includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three (3) months after your birthday. So keep in mind that if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you do get another chance each year to sign up during what’s called a “general enrollment period” from January 1 through March 31. If you enroll during the general enrollment period, then you should know that your coverage doesn’t begin right away. Your coverage would begin on July 1 of the year you enroll. You can go online to ssa.gov to read more information about enrollment periods.

SIGN UP FOR MEDICARE ONLINE – IT’S EASY

You can still apply online for Medicare even if you are not quite ready to retire yet. Use our online application to sign up for Medicare. It’s simple and really only takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once you’ve submitted your application electronically, you’re completely done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. The Social Security office will receive your application and process it. They will contact you if more information is needed. Otherwise, you should expect to receive your new Medicare card in the mail. Medicare is in the process of mailing all beneficiaries new Medicare cards between April 2018 and April 2019.

The Medicare program is managed by the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Social Security works with CMS by enrolling people in Medicare.

For more information about applying for Medicare only and delaying retirement benefits, visit ssa.gov

Keep in mind that if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) and/or health insurance based on employment, you may want to ask your benefits administrator or insurance carrier how signing up for Medicare will affect you.

 

WHO CAN APPLY FOR MEDICARE

You can apply for Medicare online if you:

  • Are at least 64 years and 9 months old;
  • Want to sign up for Medicare but do not currently have ANY Medicare coverage;
  • Don’t want to start receiving Social Security benefits just yet;

 and

  • Are not yet currently receiving Social Security retirement, disability or survivors benefits.

 

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR MEDICARE?

You should sign up for Medicare three (3) months before reaching age 65, even if you’re not yet ready to start receiving your retirement benefits. You can decide to opt out of receiving your cash retirement benefits now using  the online application. Then later whenever you’re ready, you can apply online for retirement benefits.

With the online application, you can sign up for Original Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you can turn it down.

If you choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B. Your monthly premium will go up 10 percent for each 12-month period you were eligible for Part B, but didn’t sign up for it, unless you qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period.”

 

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

If you have medical insurance plan through a group insurance policy thats based on your or your spouse’s current employment, you may not need to apply for Medicare Part B at age 65. You’ll qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period” (SEP) that’ll allow you to sign up for Part B later during:

  • Any month you remain covered under the group health plan and your, or your spouse’s, employment continues; or
  • The eight (8) month period that begins with the month after your group health plan coverage or the employment it is based on ends, whichever comes first.

WHY APPLY ONLINE FOR MEDICARE?

Using the online Medicare application has several advantages. You can:

  • Avoid trips to your Social Security Office, saving you time and money.
  • Get immediate answers to your questions in the convenience of your own home by starting and stopping the application without any fear of losing any information you entered.
  • Make any necessary corrections to your application before you submit it online.
  • Submit your application electronically. There is no need to mail in your application. When you are finished, just click on the “Submit Now” button to send your application electronically to Social Security.
  • Receive a receipt online for your application that you can print and keep a copy for your records.
  • Also check the status of the application you submitted online. You’ll  receive a confirmation number once you submit your application.

 

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY?

After your application is sent in the Social Security Office will:

  • Review the application and contact you if they need anymore information or if they need to see any documents;
  • Process the application after you have provided all of the necessary information and documents; and
  • Mail you a decision letter.

Other Medicare registration/enrollment options are:

You can also apply:

  • By phone – at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call them at TTY 1-800-325-0778.

OR

  • In person – Visit your local Social Security Office. (Call first to make an appointment.)

 

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