There seems to be a lot of confusion around this topic. In general, most people should enroll in Medicare Part A (hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) when they’re first eligible. Every situation is different, however, and it’s best to call for guidance to determine when you are eligible for Medicare.
You should enroll when you are first eligible if any of these situations apply:
- You are turning 65 years old and,
- you are retired or,
- you are employed but not covered by an employer healthcare plan with 20 or more employees or,
- you have retiree coverage (from your former employer or spouse former employer) or COBRA coverage or,
- you have TRICARE or,
- you are a Veteran with Veterans’ benefits or,
- you are disabled at any age, and have been disabled for more than 24 months or,
- you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) at any age.
The Initial Enrollment Period, (IEP) is when you first become eligible and often revolves around an individual’s 65th birthday. You can enroll anytime during a seven month period which includes three months before, the month of and three months after your 65th birthday.
It is important to enroll when you are first eligible since you may receive life-long penalties for your Medicare Part B (10% per year) and your Medicare prescription Part D (10%/month) for delaying your Medicare enrollment when you are first eligible.
How to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B
Before you can sign up for a Medicare supplement (also known as Medigap) plan and a prescription plan (Part D) or a Medicare Advantage plan health plan with a prescription plan, you will need to apply for your Medicare Part A and Part B. If you are planning to enroll when you turn 65 you should sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B during the three months before your birthday month.
There are several ways to do this.
- You can do this online. It may take up to six weeks to get your Medicare card with the identification numbers and effective dates, so it’s best to start a few months before you want Medicare to start: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/Ent001Submit.do
- You can call the Social Security Administration Office (1-800-772-1213) to enroll over the phone. Again, it may take up to six weeks to get your Medicare card with the identification numbers and effective dates, so it’s best to start a few months before you want Medicare to start.
- You can visit your local Social Security Administration Office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to apply.
[To set up an appointment to enroll at the local SSA office you will need to call the national 800 number (1-800-772-1213). You’ll need patience as you work through the prompts and wait for a person to answer.
At the appointment, you should ask for your Part A and Part B identification number and effective dates. They should be able to provide these to you on the spot. We need both the Part A and Part B identification numbers and the effective dates to enroll in a Medicare health plan.]
Simultaneously you can meet with me to explore which Medicare plans best meet your needs so you will be informed and ready when you are eligible for Medicare.
Once you are in your Initial Enrollment period, have your Part A and Part B identification numbers and effective dates, we can then enroll you in a Medicare health plan that best meets your needs.
North Shore Senior Healthcare, LLC