How to Enroll in Medicare. The Next Steps …Information for Generation Now!
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
At Medicare Solutions 4 Seniors, we get many questions about enrolling in Medicare, is it necessary? and how to get started.
You have several options when the time comes for you to enroll in Medicare. For some people, Medicare enrollment is automatic, while for others, it may depend on when and how they become eligible.
How to enroll in Medicare
You can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B in the following ways:
Online at www.SocialSecurity.gov.
By calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
In-person at your local Social Security office.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
For most people, enrolling in Medicare Part A is automatic. However, there are several instances where you may have to manually enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), the seven-month period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month of your 65th birthday, and ends three months later.
Medicare Part B late-enrollment penalty If you do not sign up for Medicare Part B when you are first eligible, you may need to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare. For those who are not automatically enrolled, there are various Medicare enrollment periods during which you can apply for Medicare. Be aware that, with certain exceptions, there are late-enrollment penalties for not signing up for Medicare when you are first eligible.
Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP)
If you did not enroll during the IEP when you were first eligible, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period. The general enrollment period for Original Medicare is from January 1 through March 31 of each year. You Medicare benefits the following July.
Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
Many people choose to work past age 65. You may choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B when you are first eligible because you are already covered by group medical insurance through an employer or union. If you lose your group insurance, or if you decide you want to switch from your group coverage to Medicare, you can sign up at any time that you are still covered by the group plan or during a Special Enrollment Period(SEP). Be sure to have your employer authorize the CMS L-564 form to prove you have credible coverage.
This only applies if your Employer has over 20 employees. Less than 20 employees? You need to enroll in Part B during your IEP to avoid penalty
Your eight-month special enrollment period begins either the month that your employment ends or when your group health coverage ends, whichever occurs first.
Please also keep in mind that COBRA and retiree health coverage are not considered current employer coverage and would not qualify you for a special enrollment period.
Medicare Supplement insurance plans enrollment
Medicare Supplement insurance plans (or Medigap) are voluntary, additional coverage that helps fills the gaps in coverage for Original Medicare. The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan is during your individual Medigap Open Enrollment Period, which is the six-month period that begins on the first day of the month you turn 65 and have Medicare Part B.
If you decide to delay your enrollment in Medicare Part B for certain reasons such as having health coverage based on current employment, your Medigap Open Enrollment Period will not begin until you sign up for Part B. During your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you have a “guaranteed-issue right” to buy any Medigap plan sold regardless of any medical conditions.
Remember that Medigap benefit plans are set standardized. Because Medigap insurance plans are regulated by state and federal laws, the basic benefits offered by plans of the same letter type are the same regardless of insurer. The differences will be in the price and who administers the plan. Medicare Solutions 4 Seniors will help you find the best prices.