You are eligible for Medicare upon turning 65, however, when you enroll depends on if you plan to continue to work past your 65th birthday and if you still have health insurance through your employer.
If you are receiving social security retirement benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B the same month that you turn 65 (or the previous month if your birthday is on the first day of the month). If you are disabled, you will receive coverage under Medicare Parts A and B starting 24 months after your disability benefits from Social Security begin. In either case, once you are automatically enrolled, you will receive your Medicare card in the mail.
If you plan to retire prior to your 65th birthday, you have a 7-month window to enroll in Part A. The enrollment period begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after your birthday month. After the 7th month, a late enrollment penalty may apply.
Some beneficiaries receive Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) automatically, while others have to sign up. In most cases, it depends on whether they’re receiving Social Security benefits.
When applying, the beneficiary selects one of the following situations that applies to them:
“I’ll be getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at least four months before I turn 65.”
- Typically, they would receive Original Medicare, Parts A & B.
“I won’t be getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at least four months before I turn 65.”
- In this case, they would need to apply for Medicare.
“I’m under 65 and have a disability.”
- After 24 months of full disability, they will automatically receive their Original Medicare, Parts A & B.
“I have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease).”
- They will automatically receive Original Medicare, Parts A & B the month that disability benefits begin.
“I have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).”
- They will be eligible to apply for Medicare.
Some beneficiaries choose to delay Part B when they initially become eligible for Medicare, so that they may keep the group health coverage provided through their employment. To delay Part B, the beneficiary would need to indicate that to the Social Security Administration upon notice of becoming eligible for Medicare.
Conversely, a beneficiary desiring to enroll in Part B after initially delaying it would do so by applying for Part B via the Social Security Administration office or website.
It should be noted that a client delaying Part B without having creditable coverage would be restricted in reacquiring it. They would be required to enroll during the Part B general enrollment period (January 1 – March 31 with an effective date of July 1) and would be penalized for time-lapsed in which they were eligible for Medicare and not covered by creditable coverage. The penalty would be assessed monthly for the rest of their life.
Enrolling into Medicare can be confusing. Schedule your free, personalized plan comparison with a trusted local expert. We will review all health coverage options available to you, and help you determine which Medicare Insurance Plan provides the right amount of coverage, at the right price.