4 Steps to Sign Up For Medicare
When it’s time to enroll in Medicare, you might have questions. For example, where do you go to fill out an application? Is there anything to keep in mind? How long will it take to receive approval once you submit your application?
Below, I’ve outlined exactly what you need to know to get the ball rolling.
Step 1: Understand the Enrollment Periods
Initial Enrollment Period
Generally, your first chance to sign up for Medicare occurs during your Initial Enrollment Period, which begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65.
For example, if you turned 65 in June, Your IEP would begin in March and end in September of the same year. Then, once you sign up, your coverage will take effect on the first day of the month you enroll.
Retirement or Disability Benefits
If you applied for retirement or disability benefits from Social Security or through the Railroad Retirement Board, this also serves as your Medicare application. If you’re
under age 65 and disabled, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare 24 months after you begin drawing disability benefits.
Special Enrollment Periods
Outside of your IEP or filing for retirement benefits, you can enroll in Medicare or change your coverage during special enrollment periods. These include:
- Moving to a new address;
- Losing your current coverage;
- Having the opportunity to obtain other coverage;
- Your plan changing its contract with Medicare;
- Other special circumstances (e.g., you qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare).
If you do not sign up for Medicare Parts A, B, and D during normal enrollment, you could be subject to late fees once you do enroll.
A late enrollment penalty for Part A could see your premium increase by up to 10%, which you’ll have to pay for twice the number of years you didn’t sign up.
When it comes to Part B, you’ll pay an extra 10% for each year you could have signed up for coverage but didn’t. So, if you didn’t sign up for two years, your Part B premium will be 20% higher than if you enrolled on time—something you’ll continue paying for as long as you carry Part B coverage.
Finally, the Medicare.gov website explains they calculate your Part D penalty “by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($33.06 in 2021) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium.”
Step 2: Understand the Different Ways to Sign Up for Medicare
Whether during an initial or special enrollment period, there are four different avenues you can take to sign up for Medicare:
- Medicare’s online application allows you to quickly sign up for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). To do so, you’ll need to create your secure My Social Security account.
- Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 to apply over the phone.
- Contact your local Social Security office directly. You can search here for the nearest office by zip code.
- If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, you can also call the Railroad Retirement Board at 877-772-5772.
If you need additional assistance, you can answer a few questions to determine how to sign up for Medicare.
Step 3: Filling Out Your Medicare Application
The online Medicare application is quick and easy, and will ask you to input the following information:
- Your name;
- Your date of birth;
- Your Social Security number;
- Any health insurance coverage you currently have, including Medicaid;
- The country in which you were born (if not the United States).
After submitting your application, the website will generate a confirmation number that you can access via your My Social Security account. If anything’s unclear or the SSA needs additional information, they’ll reach out directly to finish processing your application.
Step 4: What Happens After Submitting Your Medicare Application?
After successfully submitting your Medicare application, the SSA will begin processing the request, which generally takes between 30 and 60 days before receiving approval.
While the process is underway, you can use the confirmation number you received to check the status of your application, where you can view when it was received, when it’s being processed, and if it was approved. If you prefer speaking with a live person, you can also call Social Security at 800-722-1213.
Keep in mind that even if you verify eligibility through your online account or by speaking with an SSA agent, you’ll also receive a decision letter in the mail when your application is finished processing.
How Can You Learn More About Filling Out Your Medicare Application?
The team at IHS Insurance Group has decades of combined experience helping clients like you find the Medicare coverage you need at prices you can afford. So, whether you have questions about Medicare in general or how to fill out your application, specifically, we’re just a phone call away.
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Medicare or Medigap Coverage? We have three convenient ways to reach us:
- If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480-5063
- If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back to you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE tool.
- Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE.
Also, check out our Medicare FAQs here.