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.
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.
You can apply for Medicare online if you:
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.”
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:
Using the online Medicare application has several advantages. You can:
After your application is sent in the Social Security Office will:
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.
- In person – Visit your local Social Security Office. (Call first to make an appointment.)