How to Apply for Medicare
Medicare is a health insurance package provided by the national government for adults aged 65 and above and younger people with specific disabilities. Permanent residents and citizens of the United States are eligible to apply for primary Medicare packages when they turn 65.
Apply for Medicare
People receiving Social Security or specific Railroad Retirement Board retirement benefits are enrolled automatically before they turn 65 while the rest have to enroll.
Medicare has several parts that cover different expenses, making the enrollment process a bit intimidating or complicated.
There also several enrollment windows for you to enroll for Medicare and enrolling when these windows have lapsed attract late-enrollment penalties.
Note – see a specialist to get a complete breakdown of your options.
The Parts of Medicare
It would help if you were understood how Medicare enrollment works, the different parts of Medicare plus the services they cover so you can go for the best coverage for you.
- Medicare Part A – Hospital coverage covers costs of hospitalization like; skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, limited home health care, and inpatient stays.
- Medicare Part B – Medical insurance covers doctor visits, medical equipment, outpatient care, cardiac rehabilitation, outpatient procedures, and cancer treatment.
- Medicare Part C – Medicare Advantage plans include Part A and B, which constitute the Original Medicare. It is administered through a private insurance company with some additional benefits.
- Medicare Part D – For prescription drug coverage offered via private insurance companies, which are Medicare-approved.
- Medigap or Medicare Supplement Insurance – Covers the “gaps” in original Medicare coverage.
How to Apply For Medicare
Social Security and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries are automatically enrolled for parts A and B of Medicare when they sign up for retirement benefits.
In which case, you receive your enrollment information and Medicare card 3-4 months before your 65th birthday. You can switch to Part C or sign up for Part D during the initial enrollment period if you would like.
If you are receiving disability benefits at under 65, you are automatically signed up for Original Medicare after 24 months of disability benefits.
For those who have not registered automatically, you can sign up for Medicare Part A three months before your 65th birthday, during your birthday month, or three months after. At this time, you may also enroll for the Original Medicare or additional coverage.
How to Enroll for Medicare
Before signing up for original Medicare parts, you should consider the kind of coverage you will ultimately need. If you need a help choosing a Medicare plan, you can go to Medicareusa.com to find out more information.
To be sure, confirm if you were enrolled in original Medicare packages automatically and decide whether you need part B or you’d prefer to defer enrollment.
Compare all plans offered in your area to determine which Medicare options and costs are favorable for you whether that’s the original Medicare packages or the advantage plans.
Then gather all necessary information and documents you need for enrolling, such as your Social security number, current employer information, place and date of birth, and health insurance plan details, then proceed to sign up. There are several ways to sign up, including:
- In-person by visiting your local Social security office.
- Over the phone by calling Social Security offices using any of the contacts on their site.
- Submitting an online application via the Social Security website
- Send physical mail to your local SSD office, including your name, Social security number, and desired enrollment date.
Part D enrollment for Medicare is not autonomous for anybody can only be an add-on to the Original Medicare, and you are not eligible for part D if you have part C. You can enroll for it online or directly by contacting private insurance companies offering Part D plans.
You can enroll for part C online by shopping for part C plans using Medicare.gov’s finder tools or directly through private insurers.
When to Enroll
When planning to join Medicare, you need to know the various enrollment dates and deadlines:
Initial Enrollment Period
The seven-month window before and after your birthday; in this time, you may sign up for all Medicare parts without attracting penalties.
Open Enrollment Period
It is an open enrollment window that runs between October 15 and December 7. You can switch to part C from original Medicare or back to the original from part C during this period. You can also change, add, or remove sections of part D.
General Enrollment Period
If you missed the initial enrollment window, you could apply in the course of this yearly enrollment period from January 1 to March 31.
Special Enrollment Period
It is a window that allows you to enroll for Medicare if you delayed enrolling because of a significant life event like the loss of private health insurance provided by an employer.
It is an eight-month window from your initial cover or employment termination when you can sign up without a penalty.
Enrolling for Medicare is an essential step as you approach 65. To enroll successfully and make the best choice, you need all the information you can get.