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Apply for Medicare Part B

If you are approaching Medicare eligibility or already qualify for coverage, applying for Medicare Part B is essential in receiving your earned healthcare benefits. Medicare Part B is the outpatient and doctor visit coverage from Original Medicare. To receive coverage, you must apply through the federal government. However, when to enroll is up to you.

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Below, we discuss the necessary steps to apply for Medicare Part B, what this coverage entails, and how much it will cost.

Who is Eligible to Apply for Medicare Part B?

To be eligible for Medicare Part B, you must be a U.S. citizen for at least five years AND one of the following:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Diagnosed with end-stage renal disease
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits for at least 24 months

If you meet at least one of the criteria above, you are eligible for Medicare Part B. Most people sign up for Medicare Part B as soon as they become eligible. By doing so, you avoid late enrollment penalties that you would face in the future if you delay coverage.

When To Apply for Medicare Part B

You can apply for Medicare Part B at any time when you are eligible and have a valid enrollment period. To sign up for Medicare Part B you must be within the following windows:

  • Initial Enrollment Period
  • General Enrollment Period
  • Special Enrollment Period

You enter your Initial Enrollment Period as you approach your 65th birthday. This enrollment period starts on the first day of the month, three months before you turn 65. Your Initial Enrollment Period lasts through your birth month and ends on the last day of the third month following. Thus, you have seven months to apply for Medicare Part B benefits without accruing a penalty.

If you delay applying for Medicare Part B, you will have two more options to enroll. These options are the General Enrollment Period and a Special Enrollment Period – the latter of which requires a recent, qualifying life event.

If you delay applying for Medicare Part B and do not have creditable coverage, you will need to enroll during the next General Enrollment Period. Creditable coverage is healthcare coverage that provides the same or more benefits as Original Medicare. So, if you delay without coverage or with lesser coverage, you will need to enroll during this annual window.

In this case, you also must pay the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty.  The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31. If you apply during this time, coverage goes into effect on July 1.

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Lastly, if you delay applying for Medicare Part B with creditable coverage, you will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period when you lose group coverage. In this case, you will have 63 days to enroll in Medicare Part B and avoid the late enrollment penalty. However, if you miss this opportunity, you will need to apply during the General Enrollment Period and pay the late penalty.

How to Apply for Medicare Part B

If you are applying for Medicare Part B and are not yet receiving Social Security Income benefits, you must apply for coverage up to three months before you turn 65. To apply for Medicare Part B benefits, you can do any of the following:

  • Stop by your local Social Security office to apply in person
  • Call Social Security at (800) 772-1213 and apply over the phone
  • Go to ssa.gov and apply online

However, if you already receive Social Security benefits, you will not need to apply for Medicare Part B yourself through Social Security. Social Security will automatically sign you up for Medicare Part B unless you direct them otherwise. You should receive your Medicare card about three months before you turn 65.

How to Apply for Medicare Part B Secondary Coverage

Medicare Part B does not cover 100% of your out-of-pocket costs once you enroll in the federal healthcare coverage. To minimize out-of-pocket costs, many people enroll in Medicare Supplement plans. Contact one of our licensed Medicare agents to determine whether a Medicare Supplement plan is right for you.

Our agents work with thousands of clients nationwide to ensure they receive the best coverage possible. Call the number above or complete our online rate form today for a free quote and plan comparison!

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B, CMS. Accessed June 2022.
    https://www.cms.gov/medicare/cms-forms/cms-forms/downloads/cms40b-e.pdf
  2. Medicare Benefits, SSA. Accessed June 2022.
    https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/
  3. Ready to Sign Up for Part A and Part B, Medicare. Accessed June 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/basics/get-started-with-medicare/sign-up/ready-to-sign-up-for-part-a-part-b
Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

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