Once you have established that you qualify for Medicare, it’s time to apply. Assuming you are applying at 65 and not because of a disability, it is strongly recommended that you enroll at the earliest possible opportunity. If you let your first enrollment period pass you by, your coverage could be delayed, or you may be subject to penalties. The good news is that the application process is quick and easy. You can apply online at www.ssa.gov , over the phone, or in-person at a local Social Security office.
After completing your application, a welcome packet should arrive along with your Medicare cards within about three weeks, provided you have met all qualifications. Your application may take longer to process if you apply over the phone. Your Medicare card will carry your unique insurance identification number. If you are already receiving benefits from Social Security, you should automatically receive your cards before your 65th birthday.
If you want to enroll in Part D to cover prescription drugs, you’ll need to apply for that separately within the same initial enrollment period.
Now, suppose you are interested in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan. In that case, you will need to apply for those after you are an established Medicare participant. These plans are available through private insurance providers rather than the Social Security office.
You may still be employed when you reach your Medicare initial enrollment period. If you already have insurance from your employer, you should discuss your options with a Medicare Insurance agent. Many people find that even if you continue to work, Medicare offers more comprehensive coverage than their employer plan, and Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan could be less costly than the employer plan.
There are certain rules governing employer group coverage once reaching Medicare age. Check with your employer, and if the employer has 20 or more employees, then the group health plan pays first, and Medicare pays second. If the employer has less than 20 employees and is not part of a multi-employer or multiple employer group health plan, then Medicare pays first and the group health plan pays second. So, if you work for a small business of 20 employees or less, it is all the more crucial to apply for Medicare early for uninterrupted coverage.
You will only need to apply for Medicare once. Your plan will renew automatically unless you make changes to your plan during the appropriate window of time.
We understand how important it is to know the process of applying for Medicare. That’s why we are here to aid you through the application process as well as how to enroll so you can avoid late enrollment penalties.
There is no charge to clients for our services. We would be honored to help walk you through this process!
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