What is the Enrollment Process for Medicare?

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Turning 65 but not sure when or how to start enrolling for Medicare? We get it! But, now is the time to start familiarizing yourself with Medicare’s enrollment process so you aren’t subjected to penalties later on.

There are several ways you can enroll in Medicare, but it can depend on when and how you become eligible.

How can I be automatically enrolled?

You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B if you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. You’ll receive a “Welcome to Medicare” packet three months before your 65th birthday, with deadlines and other instructions you will need to complete before your coverage starts. Within the packet, you’ll receive a letter, booklet, and Medicare card.

If you are about to turn 65 or are over 65 and are not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will not be enrolled automatically. If you need to sign up yourself, the Social Security office is responsible for handling Medicare applications for Part A and Part B.

If you apply for Medicare three months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, or three months after you turn 65, this is known as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). You can enroll in Medicare Part D during this time, but your application will not go through the Social Security office because Part D is not required to have.

How do I sign up for Medicare?

If you are signing up for Medicare Part A and Part B during your IEP, there are several options you can choose from to get the process started:

Visit a local Social Security office or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213
Mail a letter to Social Security with your name, Social Security number, and the date you want to be enrolled
Apply online at www.ssa.gov

Make sure to keep proof of your attempt(s) when you enroll in Medicare. This means asking for written receipts or printing out a confirmation page if you applied online. The government also expects you to know when the enrollment periods are, so do not expect a notification from Medicare reminding you when it’s time to enroll!

When will my coverage start?

If you enroll in Medicare within the first three months of your IEP, then your coverage will start the month you turn 65. For example:

Mrs. Smith’s birthday is August 10, 2020. If she signs up for Medicare during May, June, or July, then her coverage will start August 1, 2020.

Or, if you were born on the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the month prior to turning 65:

Mr. Smith’s birthday is August 1, 2020. If he signs up for Medicare during April, May, or June, then his coverage will start on July 1, 2020.

Need help?

If you’re turning 65 and are having trouble understanding all the information being thrown at you, let us help. You can search for plans in your area on www.medicare.gov, or you can instantly get more specific information and help to enroll from a professional Medicare broker at Bobby Brock Insurance by calling 662-844-3300.

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Justin Brock

President & CEO of Bobby Brock Insurance