When people turn 65, they are eligible for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). The federal government does not formally notify people when they are eligible for Medicare coverage, and failure to enroll at the correct time can lead to penalties and high out-of-pocket costs. Thus, it is important to know when and how to enroll.
Some people automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B upon turning 65. Americans do not need to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B if they have received benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or Social Security for a minimum of four months before turning 65.
Automatic recipients receive Medicare cards in the mail three months prior to their 65th birthdays. Those who are automatically enrolled must decide if they want additional Medicare coverage, such as Medicare Part D to cover prescription drugs. Recipients are also eligible for Medigap plans to supplement their coverage. Medigap plans cover coinsurance, copayments, and other expenses.
Eligible parties have several options for signing up for Medicare. Many choose to sign up online via the Social Security website. It takes less than ten minutes to complete the online application.
Enrollees can also apply in person by visiting their local Social Security offices or by calling 1-800-772-1213. Those who worked for a railroad can sign up by calling the RRB at 1-877-772-5772.
Medicare offers a 7-month enrollment period that begins three months prior to the 65th birthday and ends three months after eligible enrollees turn 65. Eligible Americans are encouraged to sign up prior to their 65th birthday. Failure to do so can cause a gap in Medicare Part B coverage. That gap can lead to significant out-of-pocket expenses.
Americans who are 65 or older and have job-based insurance can delay enrolling in Medicare Part B without paying penalties. Some choose to delay the enrollment so that they do not have to pay the Medicare Part B premium until they lose their employer-sponsored insurance.
Insured Americans should only delay enrollment if their job-based policy is the primary payer. That means the policy is charged first for the medical bills, and Medicare kicks in to cover additional expenses.
Employer-sponsored insurance is the primary policy if the company has at least 20 employees. If the employer has less than 20 employees, then Medicare is the primary payer. Enrolling in Medicare Part B is necessary in this case, or the insured might be left with expensive medical bills.
Instead of enrolling in Medicare on your own, get help from a licensed insurance agent by calling 844-236-0228. The insurance agent will go over the options and help you pick suitable coverage. You can also compare your options online and choose a policy that is best for your needs.