Know WHERE, WHEN and HOW to Sign UP for Medicare

Every day the calls pour in from frantic, stressed, confused individuals that don’t know where to start, where to look and how to go about enrolling for Medicare.

“How do I sign up for Medicare, I am lost?”–Frantic Caller

It is hard to tell hold times and processing times with everything going on these days, but signing up for Medicare can certainly be done and it is actually very easy and painless-for the most part.

Who is Medicare For?

Not everyone is eligible for Medicare.  It is important that you understand eligibility criteria so that you do not miss out on any enrollment periods when you sign up for Medicare. 

Eligible Medicare Beneficiaries:

  • Individuals turning 65 and older
  • Individuals who delayed Part B
  • Individuals who are disabled and qualified for Medicare

When to sign up for Medicare

If you are turning 65, you can start the process 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday through 3 months after your birthday. (This is the most common time individuals sign up for Medicare who want ample time for a smooth transition).

If you became eligible for Medicare because of a disability, you should start your process immediately.

If you delayed your Part B or you are losing employer or union coverage, it is advisable you start at least 30 days out; sooner if possible. (This is very common for individuals that are still working or worked past the age of 65 before they decided to sign up for Medicare).

Most individuals qualify for Medicare Part A from working and paying Medicare taxes for the required period needed. Other individuals qualify from a spouse. 

If you are receiving Social Security, then you are automatically enrolled in both Part A and Part B of Medicare, unless you chose to delay your Part B.  Some people are receiving Social Security but are still working, therefore, they elect their Part A at age 65 but delay their Part B. 

If you are not receiving Social Security yet, then you will need to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B.

Starting Part B Only

If you delayed your Part B because you were still working or you had credible coverage as good as Medicare or better, then you will need to notify your employer or the carrier you have coverage with.  Most companies require 30 days notice, so make sure you are keeping up with your time-frames to avoid any penalization. 

When using this Special Election Period, make sure that you make copies the forms you fill out, as you will also need to show proof of coverage once you enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan, Medicare Supplement, or Medicare Advantage Plan.

The forms are required from CMS and are called:

  1.  OMB No. 0938-1230: Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B
  2. OMB No. 0938-0787: Request for Employment Information (Employment Insurance Verification-very important)

Applying for Medicare

You can enroll for Medicare through Social Security by:

  1.  Apply online
  2. Call and apply over the phone (1-800-772-1213)
  3. Go into a Social Security office and apply in-person

For more information visit the following websites :

    • Social Security:  Get Extra Help with Medicare, Apply Online for Medicare, and Understanding your Options

Social Security Toll-Free Phone Number:  1-800-772-1213

    • Medicare: Get started with Medicare, Keep  track of  your Medicare, view and change plans, publications, etc.

Medicare Toll-Free Phone Number:  1-800-633-4227

After you sign up for Medicare, you will want to explore ALL your Medicare Insurance Options.  

You will have the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, a Medicare Advantage Plan with or without Prescription Drug, or a Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plan. 

Explore all your options so that you can make the right choice that is best for your current needs and situation. 

sign up for Medicare

Drug plans should be reviewed and shopped yearly as plans change names, preferred pharmacy networks, and drug formularies.  This means you could potentially be missing out on tons of savings. 

It is adviseable to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan or a plan with Prescription Drugs included when you are first eligible to avoid penalty in the future for not having a drug plan as good as Medicare or better, even if you do not take any medications. 

There are low cost options for those that are not on any medications. 

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