If you’re turning 65 and wondering if you need to enroll in Medicare, use this information to learn about your options and make informed decisions about your healthcare.
When Can I Enroll in Medicare?
Depending on your situation, you may or may not have to manually enroll in Medicare. For example, if you are already enrolled in Social Security benefits you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B effective the month you turn age 65. In this case, you can optionally dis-enroll from Medicare Part B but not Medicare Part A.
If you are not currently enrolled in Social Security benefits, you will not be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and should enroll in Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday and continues for seven months. This will help you avoid the risk of paying late penalties and having a gap in medical coverage.
Depending on your situation, the specific times you can enroll in Medicare can vary. Find out when you are eligible for Medicare here.
Should I enroll in Medicare if I I Have Healthcare Through My Employer?
Even with your own private insurance Part A can supplement some of the costs not covered by your current provider. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you should at least enroll in Medicare Part A and maybe Part B, depending upon your current health insurance. If your employer has 20 or more employees, Medicare is secondary and you are not required to enroll in Medicare A or B.
Be sure to check with your employer to see whether your private insurance or Medicare will become your primary insurance.
What is covered in the four Parts of Medicare?
- Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
- Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers certain physician fees, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plan) covers vision, health, dental, health and wellness programs, and prescription drug coverage.Note: You must be enrolled in Part A and Part B in order to enroll in Part C.
- Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) covers prescription medication.
How do I sign up for Medicare?
You have a few different choices in signing up for Medicare in-person, by phone, online or using a certified medicare advisor.
- Visit your local Social Security Office or Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)
- Visit https://www.ssa.gov
- Contact a liscensed and certified independent advisor. These services typically cost you nothing and are paid via the insurance carrier. Start by getting your free Medicare Planning Guide using the form on this page.
Remember, it’s best to sign up as early as possible during your Initial Enrollment Period so that you’ll have the Medicare coverage you need when you turn 65.
Still not sure? Do you have more questions? Feel free to connect with one of our advisors who will help you navigate the often confusing ocean of information surrounding Social Security and Medicare. Our advisors do not charge fees for any of their services. We are here to help.