It’s not uncommon for new beneficiaries to be unsure of when to sign up for Medicare. Below, we’ll answer the most common questions we get from our clients that are just aging in.
When Do I Have to Sign Up for Medicare?
Many different factors determine when you have to sign up for Medicare. Typically, you want to sign up when you first turn 65 years old.
If you’re collecting Social Security, you’ll automatically be enrolled in both Part A & Part B. If you’re not receiving Social Security, then you’ll want to sign up manually during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Three months before your 65th birthday, your Initial Enrollment Period window will start. Your IEP is a once in a lifetime enrollment window that you don’t want to miss.
If you do happen to miss it, you’ll have another opportunity to enroll during another enrollment period. However, you could get a penalty for not signing up when you first became eligible.
The only way around the penalty is if you have creditable coverage.
Do You Have to Sign Up for Medicare When You are 65?
As long as you have creditable coverage, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare when you are 65.
Technically, you don’t have to sign up for Medicare at all if you don’t want to. Medicare is not mandatory. Just know, if you choose to sign up later without creditable coverage, you’ll incur penalties that you may be stuck with for the rest of your life.
The most common reason a new beneficiary may delay enrolling in Medicare is that they have coverage through their employer. However, not all group coverage is considered creditable coverage. The size of your employer will determine if the coverage is deemed to be credible.
When to Sign Up for Medicare Part A
As stated above, if you’re collecting social security benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Part A & Part B. If you’re not automatically enrolled, the best time to enroll in Part A is during your Initial Enrollment Period.
As long as you worked a minimum of 10 years, Part A will be premium-free. Even if you’re still working, it makes sense to join Part A to help keep yours out of pocket medical costs to a minimum.
When to Sign Up for Medicare Part B
If you’re retiring, the best time to enroll in Part B is during your IEP. For those still working past 65, check with your health administrators if your employer coverage is considered creditable coverage or not.
If it is, then you can enroll in Part B when you retire or leave your group health plan. You’ll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll without any penalties. If your group health plan is not considered creditable coverage, then you should register for Part B during your IEP.
If you missed your IEP, the next enrollment window you can enroll in Part A and Part B is the General Enrollment Period.
How Do I Sign Up for Medicare?
For beneficiaries that are not automatically enrolled, you can choose to sign up online, in person, or by phone.
Where Do You Sign Up for Medicare
You have three ways you can sign up for Medicare:
- By visiting SocialSecurity.gov
- In-person at your local Social Security office
- By calling Social Security directly
Can I Sign up for Medicare Online?
Yes, you can register for Medicare online. Social Security has an online application that takes less than ten minutes. There is no documentation needed and no forms to sign.
Common Questions About Signing up for Medicare
Let’s Wrap This Up
We know that was a lot of information. Signing up for Medicare can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help you! Give us a call, we’ll be more than happy to walk you through all the steps of signing up, as well as get you enrolled in a supplement plan.
You can also see supplement plan rates in your area now by using our online rate form.