Enrollment in Medicare can be a very easy process. If you’re enrolling and Social Security at the same time, then the Medicare A and B enrollment is taken care of for you by the federal government.
But if you’re putting off Social Security at this time and are going to be enrolling in Medicare because of your 65th birthday, then you need to be proactive in your enrollment.
Simplest way is to go online to the Medicare website which is www.medicare.gov and you can click on the link to enroll in Part A and Part B of Medicare.
It’s recommended to do this about 90 days prior to your 65th birthday in order to receive your identification cards and have all your information in place so that you can then pick and enroll in a Supplement or Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan.
You also can contact your local Social Security Office who can help facilitate your enrollment in Part A and Part B of Medicare. And again I’d say to do this about 90 days prior to your actual Medicare eligibility date which again is the first of the month in which you turn 65. Or the previous month if your birthday is the 1st of the month. Then you’re going to be eligible for Medicare the first of the previous month.
The exception to this also is if you’re disabled. If you’ve been disabled based on Social Security’s definition, you would be eligible for Medicare the 25th month after your disability. Regardless of your age you could be Medicare-eligible based on your disability.
Are you automatically enrolled in Medicare if you are on Social Security?
Questions come up about someone that has taken Social Security early such as at age 62, are they automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B of Medicare later on. And the simple answer is yes they are.
If you are enrolled in Social Security, when you do turn 65 the federal government automatically enrolls you in Part A and Part B of Medicare and they will send you a Medicare card. If you’re collecting Social Security or plan to collect Social Security to coincide with your 65th birthday then enrollment in Social Security would also trigger your Medicare A & B enrollment so you do not have to be proactive enrolling in Medicare A and B if you’re going to be enrolling in Social Security.
The only person who has to be proactive enrolling in A and B of Medicare are those people who are putting off Social Security enrollment until a later date. Those people should be looking at enrolling in Medicare about 90 days prior to their 65th birthday.
Is there a Penalty for not Signing up for Medicare?
Most people enroll in Part A and Part B of Medicare when they become Medicare eligible at age 65. There are some people though that put Medicare enrollment off because they have the opportunity to be covered through their employer-sponsored plan.
A lot of these people are surprised later on when they do decide to enroll in Part A and Part B of Medicare, because sometimes Medicare will enforce a financial penalty for not enrolling in Medicare A and B when those people were first eligible. This typically happens when an employee is working for an employer that has less than 20 employees. Because of Medicare Part A and Part B would be primary for that person, and the employer plan would be secondary, Medicare would enforce a financial penalty for late enrollment into Part B of Medicare.
If you’re working for an employer group that has more than 20 employees, typically there isn’t a penalty because the employer-sponsored plan is primary because the employer-sponsored plan has more than 20 employees.
Depending on the size of the employer that you work for, continuing your employer-sponsored plan may or may not cause a financial penalty later on when you go to enroll in Medicare.
When Can I Change my Medicare Coverage?
Between October 15th and December 7th of each year the center for Medicare and Medicaid services allows for an annual election period in which Medicare recipients can make changes to their current coverage.
During this timeframe you’ll have the opportunity to change, upgrade, downgrade, and even cancel coverage. There’s also no health history application at this time.