Are you thinking about enrolling in Medicare but aren’t sure what the options are and how to sign up to receive these benefits? There are several parts to Medicare and knowing where to start can be confusing.
The first thing you need to do is enroll in Original Medicare which includes Medicare Part A & Medicare Part B. In addition to Parts A & B, there are Parts C & D and Medicare Supplement which our agents at Guided Medicare Solutions can help you compare once you have Original Medicare.
Most people 65 and older qualify for free Medicare Part A as long as they have paid enough Medicare taxes throughout their time working and may be automatically enrolled upon turning 65. You will also need to sign up for Part B, which has a monthly premium.
You can sign up for Original Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which spans seven months total: three full months before your 65th birthday, the entire month in which you turn 65, and three full months after your birthday month.
If you happen to miss your IEP, there is a General Enrollment Period (GEP) every year from January 1st through March 31st.
In certain circumstances, people become eligible to apply for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This is outside of their IEP and the GEP.
You don’t want to miss the window of opportunity to sign up for Medicare. If you sign up outside your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) or Special Enrollment Period (SEP), penalties may be assessed.
Signing up for Original Medicare?
You have three options to apply for Medicare:
- Online: You can enroll online via the Social Security website.
- Phone: Sign up by calling 800-772-1213 between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. If you are hard of hearing, call 800-325-0778.
- In-Person: Visit your local Social Security office to apply for Medicare in person. Click here to find a location near you.
What Do I Need to Have With Me?
Regardless of whether you apply online, on the phone, or in person, you’ll need to provide certain documents. This generally includes the following:
- Birth Certificate
Because a person needs to be at least 65 years old to enroll in Medicare, a birth certificate serves as proof of your age.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Residency
A U.S. passport Certificate of Citizenship or Green Card establishes proof of citizenship or legal residency. Legal residents must be legal residents of the U.S. for at least five continuous years to be eligible for Medicare.
- Social Security Card
Individuals already receiving Social Security benefits might need to submit their Social Security card when applying to Medicare.
- Health Insurance Information
If you plan to use Medicare in conjunction with existing coverage, you need to submit documents that detail the terms of coverage. This determines if the other insurer will pay first for the care you receive instead of Medicare.
- Tax Information
A W-2 helps determine how much you’ll have to pay if you enroll in Medicare Part B.
- Military Documents
If you receive military or veteran benefits, you might have to show records of military service.
After submitting your application, the Social Security office will send you a copy of your submitted information. Take this as an opportunity to look for and correct any errors you notice.
Once you have enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A & B), you can decide on additional coverage that you may need. Original Medicare does not cover everything you may need, so there are additional insurance options that you can get. These include Medicare Parts C & D and Medicare Supplement Plans.
Before applying for Medicare, you should compare plans to find the option that’s best for you. Contact one of our agents to help you determine which plan best fits your needs. If you want to connect with an agent, visit Guided Medicare Solutions.