In order to receive these benefits, you have to apply. Knowing what to do and when to do it can ensure you receive the coverage you need and are entitled to.
For Those Already Enrolled in Medicare
If you currently have Medicare, you can receive information and services online. In fact, you can also manage your benefits on the Social Security Administration’s website.
If you currently receive Medicare Part A and want to sign up for Medicare Part B, you will need to complete the CMS 40-B form, which is the Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B. You can mail it to the SSA office, or take it to a local branch.
Anyone who receives Medicare is eligible for prescription drug coverage. There are some people who have limited income and resources who may also receive additional help covering the costs.
How To Apply For Medicare Coverage
When you initially apply for Medicare, you will have the ability to sign up for Part A, which is hospital insurance, as well as Part B, which is medical insurance. Since you have to pay a premium to receive Part B coverage, you will have the option to opt-out of this coverage. However, if you make the decision to enroll in Part B down the road, you will likely be required to pay a late enrollment penalty. This cost may have to be paid for the entire time you keep Part B coverage. The monthly premium will increase by 10 percent for each 12-month period that you were eligible to receive Part B coverage, but didn’t sign up for it. The exception to this is if you qualify for the special enrollment period.
- Important Note for those living in Puerto Rico
- For individuals who live in Puerto Rico, they will not be signed up or receive Medicare Part B automatically. They will have to sign up during the initial enrollment period or have to pay a penalty. You can contact your local SSA office or call 1-800-772-1213 to do this.
How To Apply For Medicare Online
You also have the option to apply online for Medicare, even in cases when you are not ready to retire. The online application, which is located on the Social Security website takes less than 10 minutes to complete. In many situations, once your application has been submitted electronically, you are finished with the entire process. There are no forms that you have to sign and in most cases, no documentation will be necessary. The Social Security Administration will process the application and contact you if more information is needed. If no additional information is required, then you will receive your Medicare card in the mail.
The Medicare program is managed by CMS – the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services. CMS and Social Security work together to enroll people in the Medicare program.
- Important note about HSA – Health Savings Accounts
- If you have an HSA or health insurance provided by your employer, you may need to ask the insurance company or personnel office how enrolling in Medicare will affect this plan/program.
Common Questions About How To Apply For Medicare
When a person gets ready to apply for Medicare, it is only natural they would have some questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions, and answers can be found here.
Who is eligible to apply online for Medicare coverage?
Anyone who meets the following criteria is able to use the online Medicare application:
- Anyone who is at least 64 years and nine months old
- Those who want to sign up for Medicare but don’t currently have Medicare coverage
- Those who don’t want to receive Social Security benefits now
- Those who do not currently receive SS survivors benefits, disability benefits, or retirement benefits
When should you apply?
It is necessary to sign up for Medicare three months prior to turning 65, even if you are not ready to begin receiving retirement benefits. You have the ability to opt-out of receiving any cash retirement benefits now once you have begun the online application. You will have the ability to apply for retirement benefits down the road.
When you fill out the online application, you have the ability to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B. Since you have to pay for Part B coverage, you will have the option to turn it down.
Why is applying for Medicare online a good option?
When you apply for Medicare online, there are a number of benefits, which include:
- The ability to avoid trips to the Social Security Office
- Ability to have questions answered at your convenience
- Ability to make corrections to your application prior to submitting it
- Ability to submit the application electronically
- Ability to receive an online receipt for the application that you can retain for your records
- Ability to check your application’s status online
What happens after you apply?
Once the application is received, the officials at the Social Security Office will review the application to determine if any additional information or documentation is needed. They will then process the application and mail out a decision letter to you.
How To Apply For Medicare By Phone and In-Person
There are a number of other ways you can apply for Medicare, which includes:
- By contacting Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 from the hours of 7 AM to 7 PM on Monday through Friday. Those who are hard of hearing or deaf can call TTY 1-800-325-0778.
- You can apply in person at your local Social Security office. It may be wise to call ahead and schedule an appointment.
If you are currently not living in the United States or one of the territories, you have the option to contact the closest U.S. Social Security office, the U.S. Embassy, or the consulate.
If you have any questions about this article and/or would like help enrolling in Medicare, give us a call at (866) 260-9829.
How to Apply For Medicare Video
Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.