Medicare is a national health insurance program designed to cover important healthcare costs for eligible individuals who enroll in the program. When you are nearing eligibility for Medicare, you need to be aware of how you can apply. In some cases, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. For example, if you already receive benefits from Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65.
Suppose you fall in the category of needing to apply because you were not automatically enrolled. In that case, you can do so in one of three ways:
- Over the phone
How to Apply
As already mentioned, you can apply for Medicare in one of the three ways listed above. For some, applying online tends to be the easiest and quickest route. To apply online, you can go through the Social Security Administration website (www.ssa.gov) and fill out their online application. If you are three months from turning 65 but do not want to start receiving your Social Security benefits, you can skip that part in the application and just sign up for Medicare. The whole process should take around ten minutes.
If you don’t want to apply online, you can also apply on the phone by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If you would rather have a more personal application process, you can visit your local Social Security office in person to apply. Once your application is successful, you will receive your Medicare card, and your coverage will begin on the specified date.
When to Enroll
After applying for Medicare and being approved, you can enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period. This period starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after. In total, this period lasts for seven months. If you are not automatically enrolled, enrolling during this time is crucial so you don’t miss your enrollment and face late enrollment penalties.
Now, suppose you do miss your initial enrollment. In that case, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period, but doing this means you will have to pay late enrollment penalties. This period starts on January 1 and ends on March 31 each year.
If you do miss your initial enrollment, there is a chance you can enroll in Medicare at a later date and avoid these penalties altogether. Being able to do this means you would qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Situations that could qualify you for this period include:
- You have creditable group health coverage
- You have lost your current coverage and need new coverage
- You move out of your plan’s service area and new plans become available
Give Us a Call Today
If you are nearing Medicare eligibility and would like to know more about applying and enrolling for Medicare, we are here to help! Contact us today at (888) 959-1028 for more information.