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How to enroll in Medicare right now

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If you’re used to buying health insurance, the idea of ​​signing up for Medicare might seem like just as easy as other types of health insurance. However, there’s more to Medicare enrollment than you know, including late fees and automatic enrollment. Here’s what you need to know before you can sign up.

How to register for health insurance

If it’s time for you to look into Medicare, you’ll need to know how to enroll. The process is a little different from what you might be used to if you purchased your health insurance coverage through the Marketplace or through your employer in the past.

Some people automatically qualify for Medicare. This can happen if you have applied for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, as this also serves as your Medicare application. If your Social Security application is approved, you will automatically receive Medicare Part A coverage as soon as you are eligible for Medicare. You won’t have to pay a premium for Part A cover. You will also be enrolled in Part B cover in most cases, but as this comes with a monthly premium, you can decide whether you want to keep it.

If you’re not automatically enrolled in Medicare, you don’t have to worry. You can follow these steps to apply for Medicare coverage. You can register yourself by visiting or calling your local Social Security office.

Go to or call a local Social Security office: You can get started with Medicare by visiting the Medicare website or calling your local Social Security office. If you visit the website, you can complete the online registration process at your own pace. By calling Social Security, you can also get telephone assistance with the registration process.

Answer a few questions: Enrolling in Medicare includes answering a few questions. The first question you will be asked is whether you are collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. If you are already receiving benefits, you may have been automatically enrolled in Medicare.

The next question asks you to select the option that best describes you — if you are under 65, 65 or over, or under 65 and have a disability.

Complete the registration: After answering these questions, you will receive instructions on how to continue with your registration process. For example, if you are not yet receiving Social Security benefits and are over age 65, you will be asked to contact Social Security to enroll in Medicare. You can either apply for Social Security benefits or register only for Parts A and B of Medicare.

When to enroll in Medicare

Most people become eligible to enroll in Medicare three months before they turn 65. You may also be eligible for Medicare sooner if you have a disability, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Can you enroll in Medicare if you are not retired?

Yes you can. However, there are some things you need to know so you can decide if Medicare is right for you and, if so, how to enroll. If you’re still working, your company’s health insurance can make a big difference.

In most cases, if you have health insurance through your employer, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare until you retire. If you are insured by your spouse’s occupational health insurance, you can usually wait until he retires. It may seem like that’s all there is to it, but unfortunately Medicare can be more complex, especially when it comes to employed people.

One thing to be aware of is that you may be subject to a Part B late enrollment penalty if you do not enroll in Medicare when you turn 65. The Part B late enrollment penalty is an additional 10% charge for each year you were eligible for Medicare Part B, but did not. This penalty is added to your monthly Part B premium after you enroll in Medicare coverage. Some instances in which you may be charged a Part B late registration penalty include:

  • If you have COBRA coverage. In this case, you should enroll in Medicare when you turn 65 to avoid possible gaps in coverage and the Part B late enrollment penalty. You will likely lose your COBRA coverage after you enroll in Medicare.
  • If you are not covered by an employer group health insurance plan. This circumstance could apply to you if you are self-employed. This may also apply if you have health insurance through your company that is not available to everyone in the company.

If you work for a small company with less than 20 employees, there are other things you’ll want to pay attention to. Even if you’re still employed when you turn 65, you may need to enroll in Medicare to avoid gaps in your current health insurance. In this case, it is best to discuss your occupational health insurance with your employer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Medicare automatically enroll you at age 65?

No, Medicare does not automatically enroll everyone at age 65. Most people will first be able to sign up for Medicare benefits three months before they turn 65. This is the start of your initial registration period. It is important to be aware of this period because if you miss it, you may have to wait to register. You may also have to pay a monthly late registration penalty if you do not register when you first qualify.

Certain specific situations may allow you to register at another time. For example, if you are still working at age 65 and have health insurance through your job, you can enroll at any time as long as you have group health insurance coverage and you or your spouse works for the employer providing the coverage. You will also be eligible for a special eight-month enrollment period when you or your spouse stop working or lose group health plan coverage, whichever comes first.

If you get Social Security before you turn 65, the Social Security Administration will automatically enroll you in Part A and Part B of Medicare when you turn 65. You will receive enrollment instructions from the Social Security Administration three months before your 65th birthday, at the start of your initial enrollment period.

Do you automatically get Medicare with Social Security?

You will not receive Medicare benefits until you qualify. If you receive Social Security benefits before your 65th birthday, the Social Security Administration will automatically enroll you in Medicare at the start of your initial enrollment period. You may also become eligible for Medicare in other situations, including:

  • If you have ESRD
  • If you have ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • If you have had Social Security disability insurance for two years and have a qualifying condition, such as heart problems, cancer, and other serious medical conditions

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