When to Apply for Medicare when Turning 65 is one of the leading things people search for when finding out website, so we decided to write an article specifically for you! For the majority of people, when they turn 65 they become eligible to enroll in original Medicare, which includes Part A and Part B coverage. This is a federal program that provides hospital insurance, as well as some medical insurance to elderly Americans and some people who are under the age of 65 but suffer from a certain disability.

There are many who wonder when to apply for Medicare when turning 65, as well as what all this process entails. Learning a bit more about Medicare, why it is important to enroll right away and more can help ensure you get the coverage you need and deserve.

Enrolling at the Age of 65

When you enroll for Medicare Parts A and B, you will also have the option to enroll in the Medicare Part C plan. This is also referred to as Medicare Advantage. The plans offered here are provided by private insurance companies and offer you the same benefits provided in Part A and B, but you can add coverage to it, such as prescription drug coverage, dental or vision insurance. You may also opt to add the stand-alone, Medicare provided prescription drug plan to help alleviate the high costs of prescriptions.

If necessary, you can also purchase Medigap, which is Medicare Supplement insurance. This helps to cover the gaps present in original Medicare coverage.

Medicare Automatic Enrollment

Another factor that relates to the question of when to apply for Medicare when turning 65, is whether or not you are eligible for automatic enrollment. If you are turning 65 and you currently receive retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration or from the Railroad Retirement Board, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you are currently under the age of 65, you will be able to apply for Part A and Part B coverage through the Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security when you initially apply for retirement benefits.

If this is your situation, then you receive the benefits of automatic enrollment when you reach the age of 65. You will not have to submit another application. In fact, you will receive your red, white and blue Medicare identification card in the mail three months prior to your 65th birthday. Your actual benefits will begin on the first day of the month you turn 65. If your birthday falls on the first of the month, then the benefits will begin the first day of the month before.

Manual Enrollment in Medicare

If you do not qualify for automatic enrollment, you will have to figure out when to apply for Medicare when turning 65 manually. This is the case for anyone who is not receiving retirement benefits yet. Manual sign up for Medicare is not difficult and can be done several different ways:

  • By visiting the Social security website. If you are not ready to receive your retirement benefits, there is the option to sign up just for Medicare.
  • You can call the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213. They are open 7am to 7pm on Monday through Friday of each week. For TTY users, dial 1-800-325-0778.
  • You can visit the Social Security office in your local area to enroll.
  • If you were formerly employed by a railroad company, you can contact the local Railroad Retirement Board and apply for Medicare by calling 1-877-772-5772. They are open from the times of 9am to 3:30pm on Monday through Friday. For TTY users, you can dial 1-312-751-4701 for assistance.

The Initial Enrollment Period

For those reaching their 65th birthday, it is very important to get to know what the Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare is and why it is so important. The fact is, this period impacts when to apply for Medicare when turning 65.

For first time beneficiaries of Medicare, there is an Initial Enrollment Period. This period lasts for seven months, which includes three months prior to your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday and three months after your 65th birthday. You should enroll in Medicare during this period of time. If you don’t enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period then you may have to pay late fees or wait until the General Enrollment period comes around. In most cases, this falls between January 1st and March 31st each year.

What if You have Other Insurance Coverage?

If you or your spouse is still employed when you reach the age of 65 and you have health insurance coverage through your employer, you may think about putting off enrolling in Part B coverage. After all, there is no need to pay the premium if you don’t really need the insurance. It is best to contact your employer to see if the coverage you have with them is sufficient and determine how it may work along with Medicare Part B coverage prior to making a decision.

Once coverage from your employer ends, you will be given a Special Enrollment Period that will last for up to eight months. Enrolling in this period of time for Medicare Part B will ensure you don’t incur a penalty.

Additional Coverage Offered with Medicare

Once you have enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you will be able to enhance this coverage by choosing a Medigap plan, as well as prescription drug coverage through the Part D coverage option. You can also choose to have all your coverage through the Medicare Advantage plan, and opt in or out of prescription drug benefits.

Taking some time to figure out when to apply for Medicare when turning 65 can be tricky. However, with the information here you should have all the information you need to handle the enrollment. If you need assistance regarding how to apply for Medicare, you can also contact the Social Security Office, AARP or a number of other organizations. Being informed and knowing what to do will help ensure you get the health insurance coverage you are entitled to when you turn 65.