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How to Enroll in Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is part of Original Medicare. This is the Medicare coverage that covers supplies and services that are medically necessary to treat your specific medical condition. These services might include outpatient care, preventive services, ambulance services, and durable medical equipment. Part B also covers intermittent or part-time health and rehabilitative services including physical therapy if a doctor orders it to treat your specific condition.

The Process of Enrolling in Part B

If you already collect Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits because you turned 65, enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B is automatic. If you don’t live in the 50 states or the District of Columbia, and you live in an area such as Puerto Rico, your Part A Medicare enrollment is automatic, but you will have to enroll manually in Part B.

If you are younger than 65 and are disabled and receiving benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically after having received benefits for 24 months.

If you have end-stage renal disease and need regular dialysis or you have undergone a kidney transplant, you can apply for Medicare benefits right away.

If you have been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, you will have automatic Medicare enrollment the month your benefits for disability begin.

Enrolling for Medicare Part B Later

If you are covered by your employer’s health insurance plan, you may choose to delay enrolling in Part B. You should learn more about how your employer’s health insurance will work with Medicare for your medical needs, so you can better understand the consequences of dropping Medicare Part B and enrolling later.

If you don’t sign up for Part B coverage when you become eligible for Medicare benefits, you might be charged a late enrollment penalty. Your monthly Part B premium might be 10% higher for every 12-month period of eligibility you had for Medicare Part B coverage but didn’t enroll.

If you do have coverage through your employer or your spouse’s employment, you can delay enrolling in Part B without being required to pay the penalty for late enrollment.

The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare

Most people have automatic enrollment in Part A, but there are instances when you might have to enroll manually in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is seven months. This period starts the three months before you turn 65 and it ends three months after. Some reasons you might have to enroll manually include:

  • If you are not receiving benefits from Social Security for retirement.
  • If you are not eligible for retirement benefits.

If you don’t enroll in Medicare when eligibility begins, your opportunity to enroll is during the General Enrollment Period. For original Medicare, the time for general enrollment is January 1 to March 31 of each year. If you chose not to enroll in Part B when you were first eligible for coverage because you already had coverage through a group medical insurance plan, you could enroll if you lose your existing coverage through the group plan, or if you want to make the change to Medicare from group coverage. This can be done at any time you still have the group insurance coverage or in a Special Enrollment Period.

To learn more about enrolling in Medicare Part B, contact the professionals at (844) 374-1950. Our licensed insurance experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.