Turning 65 is a major milestone for healthcare. Once you reach 65, you become eligible for Medicare – the federal health insurance program for seniors. But you are not necessarily enrolled automatically in Medicare at 65. Here is what you need to know about signing up for Medicare when you turn 65.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a national health insurance program primarily for people aged 65+ established as part of the Social Security Act in 1965. It also covers some younger people with disabilities. Medicare has different parts that cover hospital care (Part A), medical services (Part B), and prescription drugs (Part D).
Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). You can also choose to get your benefits through private Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C). Prescription drug coverage (Part D) must be purchased separately.
Enrollment in Medicare
Do I Need to Sign Up for Medicare?
For most people, enrolling in Medicare is not automatic. You need to actively sign up for Medicare benefits during your Initial Enrollment Period when you first become eligible at age 65. Failing to enroll on time can result in lifelong late enrollment penalties.
How to Sign Up for Medicare
You can apply for Medicare online at Medicare.gov, over the phone, in person at your local Social Security office, or through the Social Security Administration website if you already receive benefits.
Social Security and Medicare
If you already get Social Security checks before age 65, you’ll automatically get enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B starting the first day of your 65th birth month.
Enrollment Periods for Medicare
Your Initial Enrollment Period is the 7-month window surrounding your 65th birthday when you can first sign up for Medicare. This includes the 3 months before, the month of, and 3 months after your birthday month.
When are You Automatically Enrolled in Medicare?
Those already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits do not need to actively enroll in Medicare. You’ll get automatically enrolled in Parts A and B effective the month you turn 65.
Enrollment for Railroad Retirement Board Beneficiaries
If you get RRB benefits, you’ll automatically get enrolled in Medicare the first day of the month you turn age 65. Make sure to contact RRB to enroll in Part B since it is not automatic.
Initial Enrollment Period
All those turning 65 get an Initial Enrollment Period around their 65th birthday month to sign up for Medicare. This is the main opportunity to enroll in Medicare without a late penalty.
Special Enrollment Periods
You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period outside the initial window if you had qualifying health coverage. This grants a limited chance to sign up for Medicare without penalties.
Getting Medicare Benefits
Getting Benefits from Social Security
If you already get Social Security or RRB benefits, you don’t have to file any additional paperwork to get enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. You’ll automatically transition.
Medicare Coverage at Age 65
Unless you have qualifying coverage like from current employment, it’s crucial to get enrolled in Medicare during your initial 7-month window to avoid lifelong late enrollment penalties.
Contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) if you have any questions about enrolling in Medicare Parts A or B when you turn 65.
Medicare Enrollment Resources
Useful resources like Medicare.gov and your “Medicare & You” handbook have information on timelines and processes for enrolling in Medicare at 65 with or without Social Security benefits.
Turning 65 is the most common time for Americans to transition from other health insurance over to Medicare for their healthcare needs. While getting Medicare at 65 is not always automatic, understanding the enrollment timelines and processes can ensure you are covered by the required deadlines.
We’re Here to Help
You do not have to spend hours reading articles on the internet to get answers to your Medicare questions. Give the licensed insurance agents at Manatee Insurance Solutions a Call at (352) 221-3779. You will get the answers you seek in a matter of minutes, with no pressure and no sales pitch. We are truly here to help.
For most Americans, Medicare eligibility begins automatically at age 65. However, enrollment is not automatic – you must sign up during an Initial Enrollment Period. This article explains how Medicare eligibility works when you turn 65, including whether you are automatically enrolled or if you need to take action. It also covers special enrollment periods for those still working past 65
Do I automatically get Medicare when I turn 65?
In most cases, yes. If you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65. If you are not receiving these benefits, you will need to sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Do I need to sign up for Medicare?
It is generally recommended to sign up for Medicare three months before you turn 65. This will help ensure that your coverage starts on time and that you do not experience any gaps in coverage.
Can I get more coverage with Medicare?
Yes, you can get additional coverage with Medicare. You can sign up for Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, which provides coverage through private insurance companies. You can also sign up for Part D, which offers prescription drug coverage.
How do I sign up for Medicare?
To sign up for Medicare, you can visit the Social Security website or go to your local Social Security office. You will need to apply for benefits and provide the necessary information. Once approved, you will receive your Medicare card.
What is the initial enrollment period for Medicare?
The initial enrollment period for Medicare is the seven-month period that begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday. It is during this time that you can sign up for Medicare without facing any penalties.
What is special enrollment?
Special enrollment is a period outside of the initial enrollment period when you can still sign up for Medicare. This may occur if you did not enroll during your initial enrollment period because you were covered under a job-based insurance plan. You can sign up and pay for Medicare during this limited time.
Can I get Medicare benefits if I am already receiving Social Security retirement benefits?
Yes, if you are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you will automatically get Part A of Medicare when you turn 65. However, you will still need to sign up for Part B if you want this coverage.
When is the general enrollment period for Medicare?
The general enrollment period for Medicare is from January 1 to March 31 each year. If you did not sign up for Medicare when you were first eligible, you can use this period to enroll in Parts A and B. Your coverage will start on July 1 of that year.
Do I need to answer a few questions to find out if I’m eligible for Medicare?
Yes, when you apply for Medicare, you will need to answer a few questions to determine your eligibility. These questions help ensure that you are signing up for the appropriate parts of Medicare based on your circumstances.
What happens if I don’t sign up for Medicare when I’m first eligible?
If you don’t sign up for Medicare when you’re first eligible, you may have to wait for a designated enrollment period to enroll. Additionally, you may face late enrollment penalties, resulting in higher premiums for Parts A and B health savings account.