Signing Up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B


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Details You Should Know When Signing Up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B

If you are signing up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, there are details you should review prior to obtaining coverage. There are different qualifications to review to ensure you qualify. You need to understand what each part covers and costs you are responsible for.  There is a special period to enroll in Part B or you could pay a late enrollment penalty. Part A and Part B offer coverage for specific health services.  You will be able to choose your plan based on needs.  Part B has a premium you pay each month for as long as you have the plan.

Qualifications to Know
There are different periods of Medicare eligibility. You are automatically eligible for Part A and B if you are receiving benefits from Social Security or the RRB (Railroad Retirement Board). If you have a disability and you’re under age 65, have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or receive SSI or RRB while living in Puerto Rico, you automatically qualify for Medicare. Most people who sign up for Medicare do so a few months before their 65th birthday.

What to Know to Sign Up for Part A and B
There are other Medicare enrollment periods other than your Initial Enrollment Period at age 65. If you are still employed at age 65 you may qualify for Medicare.  Certain health conditions also qualify you for coverage.  Unique situation such as same-sex couples can also qualify under specific circumstances.  You have roughly 7 months to apply for Part A and/or B. This time frame is centered on your 65th birthday.  Signing up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B can begin 3 months before your birthday and the enrollment period ends 3 months or 90 days after your birthday.  If eligible you can sign up for Part A free at any time. The enrollment period is from January 1 through March 31. July 1 is when your coverage begins. This could change if you also carry insurance through your employer.

Ways to Sign Up for Coverage
You can visit your local Social Security office or visit their website (  You can call Social Security Administration and complete the process over the phone.  You can also get information on enrollment through You can obtain an application through CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) online to download instantly.  When you sign up you do so only once.  Each year your coverage remains active as long as required premiums are paid. Beneficiaries are encouraged to review plan details each year as some may vary. During open enrollment period you can make changes to your coverage if necessary.

What Else Should You Know?
When signing up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B you don’t have to obtain both parts. If you drop your coverage you can reenroll during the enrollment period to avoid penalty.  You can sign up for Part A without Part B, but if your sign up for Part B you may be required to get Part A. Keep an eye on monthly premiums as they can change and consider signing up for a Medigap policy.

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