How Do I Sign Up for Medicare?
You need to contact Social Security to sign up for Medicare. You can either call 800-772-1213 or visit online: https://www.ssa.gov/ You are able to sign up for Medicare Part B up to 3 months before you turn 65 or when you are losing group coverage after age 65. Additional forms may be required when losing group coverage.
There are many easy ways to sign up for Medicare Parts A, B, C, D, or a Supplement plan. Before officially enrolling, however, it is important for you to decide which plan best serves your needs and budget.
Before deciding on and signing up for a plan, you should know whether or not you are eligible. Eligibility for most people is very straightforward and based on age and work history, but there are a few exceptions.
Generally, your Medicare eligibility begins when you turn 65. The 3 months before your 65th birthday begin what is referred to as your Medicare initial enrollment period (IEP). This is one of the most typical and easiest opportunities to enroll. Within this period, you may apply for Original Medicare (Parts A and B), a supplement plan, a Part D prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan without risk of rejection based on health or late penalties.
On top of the age requirement, you are also eligible for Original Medicare if you have worked at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years) while paying Social Security taxes in the U.S. But, if you are collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits before you turn 65, you will still automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare. If you would like to learn more about Medicare eligibility, check out our post on How to Know If You’re Eligible for Medicare.
Signing Up For Original Medicare
When you do sign up for Medicare, you will have a few choices to make as to the specific plan you will choose. There are 4 basic plan combinations to choose from: Original Medicare, Original Medicare with Part D, Medicare Advantage, or a Supplement Plan. Signing up for Original Medicare is easy and done in a few simple steps. In most cases, you will be automatically enrolled in premium-free Part A. For Part B, you may enroll online or over the phone by going to www.StartPartB.com, or by calling (800)772-1213. And, if you need help signing up for Part B, feel free to contact us at 877-88KEITH (53584) or Keith@MedicareOnVideo.com.
Signing Up for Medicare While Working
If you are eligible for Medicare but are currently working, you still have the option to sign up for Medicare and have both employer and Medicare insurance. If you or your spouse are eligible for Medicare and currently working, this is a great option.
Your Medicare coverage, when combined with your employer’s, will look a bit different than traditional Medicare. The size of your employer will determine the role of your Medicare insurance. 20 employees or less means that Medicare is your default primary insurance provider over your employer coverage. This will look more similar to traditional Medicare coverage. 20 or more employees means that Medicare is your default secondary insurance.
If you are receiving Medicare and employer coverage, you can delay your enrollment to Parts B and D till your retirement with no penalty—typically, you would be faced with a penalty fee along with your premium for the entirety of your Medicare. Be sure to review both plans to decide which coverage plan will offer the most coverage in addition to your employer coverage. You may choose to opt-out of Part A, B, or D if your employer offers a better plan.
To sign up for Medicare under an employee plan, you will have to contact the Social Security office and fill out a form—the following section describes how to go about this process.
Medicare Sign Up Periods
We have already introduced the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)—as a brief recap, this opportunity to enroll in Medicare takes place when you turn 65 and allows you to enroll in any plan without late penalties, making it the best time to enroll. If you miss this period, however, you have other opportunities.
If you had a specific, unavoidable reason for missing your IEP, you may be eligible to apply under a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you fall under one of these specifications, you may apply at any point, regardless of the other enrollment periods:
- You moved out of your plan’s service area.
- You or your spouse are currently working.
- You must make the necessary changes to your current plan.
- Your plan makes changes to your coverage.
- You become eligible for Medicaid.
- Enrolled or lost a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP).
- You need to be enrolled or are enrolled in a Special Needs Plan (SNP).
- An error occurred on behalf of your plan provider and/or a federal employee.
There is also a General Enrollment Period (GEP) that takes place from January 1st through March 31st. You may make any necessary changes to your current coverage, including signing up for Medicare, changing plans, or switching to a new insurer. You may also apply during the Open Enrollment Period, which occurs from October 15th through December 7th. You may make any necessary changes to your plan—you may not, however, add a new coverage plan such as Part D or a supplement plan. Be aware that, when applying under any of these plans, you may be faced with late penalties.
Signing Up for Medicare with Medicare On Video
Our comprehensive website includes all of the necessary forms and information to sign up for Medicare at no cost to you. You may start by visiting our website MedicareOnVideo.com, find the “Resource Center” menu in the top right, and follow the “Guides and Forms” tab. Once you have done so, you will be able to choose from many Medicare forms. For employer coverage, you will click the “Employer Coverage Form.” If you need other forms, you may click on any of the categories above it.
If you are ready to sign up for Medicare but are having trouble choosing a plan, we can help with that as well. On the main page of our website, you may enter your zip code for a free Medicare quote. With this quote, you will have a better idea of your plan options and the coverage and cost available to you. You may find, however, that you need more help choosing and signing up for a plan. If you need any help with your Medicare coverage, please give us a call at 877-88KEITH (53584), or email us at Keith@MedicareOnVideo.com