How to Enroll in Medicare if You are Turning 65

By Brian Krantz - March 23, 2023

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage to individuals who are 65 years or older, as well as those with certain disabilities. If you are approaching your 65th birthday, you may be wondering how to enroll in Medicare. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to get started.

When to enroll in Medicare

It’s important to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which is a seven-month window that begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after your birthday month. If you miss your IEP, you may face a late enrollment penalty, and you’ll have to wait until the General Enrollment Period to enroll.

If you’re still working when you turn 65 and have health insurance through your employer, you may be able to delay enrollment in Medicare without penalty. Once you retire and your employer coverage ends, you’ll have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to enroll in Medicare without penalty.

How to enroll in Original Medicare

Original Medicare consists of Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). You can enroll in Original Medicare in the following ways:

  • Enrolling online at the Social Security website
  • Enrolling by phone by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213
  • Enrolling by mail by completing a paper application and mailing it to the Social Security Administration

How to enroll in Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, is an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans provide the same benefits as Original Medicare (Parts A and B), and often include additional benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing services.

You can enroll in Medicare Advantage during the following periods:

  • Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
  • The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which is from October 15 to December 7 each year
  • A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if you qualify

To enroll in Medicare Advantage, contact the local Medicare agents at Plan Medicare for assistance in enrolling.

Parts of Medicare

Medicare consists of four parts: A, B, C, and D. Here’s a breakdown of what each part covers:

  • Part A: Hospital insurance that covers inpatient hospital care, hospice care, and skilled nursing facility care
  • Part B: Medical insurance that covers doctor visits, preventive services, and medical equipment
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage, which is an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance companies
  • Part D: Prescription drug coverage that can be added to Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to common questions about Medicare enrollment:

  • What if I miss the Initial Enrollment Period? If you miss your IEP, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period, which is from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, you may face a late enrollment penalty for Part B.
  • Can I change my Medicare coverage after I enroll? Yes, you can change your coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, which is from October 15 to December 7 each year.
  • How much does Medicare cost? The cost of Medicare depends on the type of coverage you choose. Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A, but there are premiums and deductibles for Part B and Part D.
  • How do I know if I’m eligible for Medicare? You’re eligible for Medicare if you’re 65 or older, or if you have certain disabilities.

Enrolling in Medicare can seem overwhelming, but it’s important to make sure you have the healthcare coverage you need as you age. By enrolling during your Initial Enrollment Period and choosing the coverage that best meets your healthcare needs and budget, you can ensure that you have access to the care you need when you need it. If you have any questions or concerns about enrolling in Medicare, don’t hesitate to reach out to the local New York Medicare agents at Plan Medicare- we can assist with all of your Medicare needs. 

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