What You Need to Know About Signing Up for Medicare for the First Time
Signing up for Medicare for the first time? Before you do, here’s what you need to know about the different parts of Medicare and Medicare supplemental plans. Please be advised that we strongly encourage new Medicare beneficiaries to have all the facts before signing up for Medicare for the first time. Meet with a local insurance agent or reach out to Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE or https://www.medicare.gov/).
When Can You Get Medicare?
The first time you apply for Medicare is called your “Initial Enrollment Period.” This is a 7-month period that:
Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
Includes the month you turn 65
Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
Is it mandatory to sign up for Medicare at age 65? No. You have the option to delay your Part B when you’re first eligible under certain circumstances (for example, when you’re still receiving health coverage from employment or if you have private insurance). However, if you do not enroll and you do not delay your Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a Part B late-enrollment penalty.
Tip: Even if you do choose to delay your Part B, it’s important that you still sign up for Part A when you turn 65.
How to Sign Up for Medicare at Age 65
When you turn 65, do you automatically get Medicare? If you’re already collecting social security when you turn 65, then yes, you should be automatically signed up and your Medicare card should be sent to you. If you haven’t received your Medicare card (or if you are not collecting Social Security by age 65), you’ll need to apply for Parts A & B before your 65th birthday (unless you are choosing to delay Medicare).
Under the “Sign Up” tab, click “Apply for Medicare Online.” This will direct you to Social Security where you’ll be able to follow the prompts and sign up.
If you do not want to sign up for Medicare online, you can call Social Security (their contact information is on their website at ssa.gov) or make an appointment at your local social security office and sign up in person.
Notice: Everyone pays a Part B premium, although some may qualify for government assistance with this cost. This Part B premium varies depending on your income, but most will pay the standard monthly premium of $135.50 in 2019. If you’re receiving Social Security, the Part B monthly premium will be taken out of your Social Security. If not, then you’ll be responsible for paying that premium, which will be billed to you quarterly.
For more details on how your income can affect your Part B premium, click here.