When & How to Enroll in Medicare After 65?

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Margaret Huntley 28-04-2021

Here’s What You Need to Know About Enrolling in Medicare?

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If your birthday is approaching and you’ve been wondering how to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, you’ve come to the right place.

Medicare is designed to give you access to affordable, credible health insurance from 65 and on. Understanding how to enroll in Medicare if you are turning 65 is the tricky part: you may be automatically enrolled or you might not have to enroll until your employer coverage runs out.

Keep reading to find out exactly who’s eligible and how to enroll in Medicare at age 65.

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Why Enroll in Medicare at Age 65?

Once you reach the age of 65, you most likely qualify for Medicare. This means that you get access to federal health insurance. Medicare has four different service types:

  • Part A: This covers hospital stays, care in a nursing facility, hospice, and some home health care.
  • Part B: This is for medical insurance and covers some services from doctors, outpatient care, preventative care, and medical supplies.
  • Part D: This is for prescription drugs, including some shots and vaccines.

Medicare Advantage is an option for those looking to get additional coverage; private insurance companies approved by Medicare can offer prescription drug coverage, dental care, and more.

Most people qualify for parts A and B, and only have to pay monthly premiums for part B. For many, Medicare is an important benefit and a way to get medical coverage; the toughest part is simply figuring out how to enroll in Medicare after 65.

Who Should Enroll in Medicare at Age 65?

Many people don’t need to enroll in Medicare because it happens automatically. If you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, then you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare.
Do you have to sign up for Medicare at age 65 if you are still working? You don’t. If you have health insurance already through your employer (and your employer has more than 20 employees), you may not want to sign up right away for part B of Medicare as you’ll have to pay monthly premiums.
However, make sure you check with your employer to see if your coverage changes once you become eligible for Medicare. Keep in mind you may have to pay a higher premium for part B when you do enroll, if you don’t sign up right away.
If you don’t have retirement benefits already and you don’t have an insurance plan through your work, then you should enroll in Medicare as soon as possible once your 65th birthday approaches.

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How to Enroll in Medicare at Age 65?

You become eligible for Medicare at age 65 and you should enroll as soon as possible so that your coverage begins as soon as you turn 65. Coverage begins the first day of the month you turn 65 and you can enroll as early as three months before your birthday month and up to three months after your birthday month.

When it comes to how to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, you have three options: simply visit the Social Security website (ssa.gov) to apply online, call Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit a local administration office.

Keep Proof of Enrollment

One important tip is to make sure you keep proof of your attempt at enrollment, in order to protect yourself from any late enrollment penalties should your application be lost. Print any confirmation information, note dates, times, and representatives you spoke with, and request any receipts possible in person.

Understanding when and how to enroll in Medicare after 65 will help ensure you’re prepared and ready to receive coverage as soon as you become eligible. Even if you delay enrolling, it’s good to know your options and ensure that you fully understand any potential implications to your coverage and finances.

Margaret HuntleyMargaret Huntley is a creative writing and philosophy student at Western University. She has been working as a freelance writer for over two years and has written about everything from insurance, to poker, to health and wellness for international businesses.