Enrolling in a comprehensive Medicare program is a two-step process. You will have to run errands at the Social Security Office and then with the Insurance Agent. This two-steps process needs to follow the order listed below:
Step #1: Obtaining Parts A and B of Original Medicare at the Social Security office.
First, you need to obtain your own Original Medicare, Parts A, and Part B. You can do this in person or by applying online. Your local Social Security Office can be located at https://www.ssa.gov/locator/ or if you prefer to file an online application go to www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare.
Remember, if you want to apply for Medicare at age 65, you have 7 months window to do so. You can apply for your Medicare as soon as 3 months before your birth month, on your month of birth, or up to 3 months after.
Note that if you started collecting your Social Security benefits prior to turning 65, your Medicare Parts A and B will be issued for you automatically and there is no need to reach out to the Social Security office. You should receive your Medicare card by mail three to four months before turning 65.
Once you have your Medicare number and Parts A and B in place you may start enrolling with additional plans to fill in the gaps that Original Medicare does not cover. More information about Medicare coverage can be found at What Medicare Plan To Pick.
Part A usually comes without any additional cost but Part B for most people with income under 97,000 will cost $164.90 per month. If you already collect your Social Security benefits, your Part B monthly premium will be automatically deducted from your monthly payment. If you do not get benefits from Social Security, you’ll get a bill from Medicare, usually requesting 3 months of premiums at a time.
Obtaining Part B Only
If you are one of those people who is collecting Social Security benefits while continuing working and having employer group coverage after you turned 65, it is very likely that you already have your Medicare number issued and Part A Medicare in place.
In such a case, you will only need to apply for your Medicare Part B.
To do it you will need to prepare two forms.
First, ask your or your spouse’s employer (if you are under your spouse’s policy) to fill in CMS – L564 form – REQUEST FOR EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION. CMS – L564
You will also need to fill in CMS – 40B form yourself – APPLICATION FOR ENROLLMENT IN PART B MEDICAL INSURANCE CMS – 40B
Once the forms are completed, you can bring them to your local Social Security Office, fax them, or mail them over. Both, your physical address, and fax number to your local SSA office can be obtained at Social Security Office Locator. If you decide to mail them over, we recommend using either certified or registered mail.
Practical Tip: APPLICATION FOR ENROLLMENT IN PART B – CMS 40B has point #12 called Remarks. Here you need to indicate what month do you want your part B to go into effect. Simply write I want my part B to be effective as of XX/01/XXXX. Be aware that you can only request to have your part B become effective on the first day of a given month e.g., 09/01/2022.
Depending on how busy your local Social Security office is, you may have to wait a few weeks for your application to be processed and Part B activated. You may occasionally try to call the SSA office to check if it was processed or you can call one of our agents and we can assist you with confirmation of your Part B coverage. Once you complete step # 1, you will receive your Medicare ID card in the mail.
(Picture – Medicare card)
Step #2 Obtaining part C or part D and/or Medigap plan.
It is done by enrollment with a private insurance plan or plans. It can be done with help of an agent or through self-enrollment. Step #2 can be done once your Original Medicare Part A and B request for activation is completed and your unique Medicare number is issued. You do not need to have your Medicare ID card in your possession to complete Step #2.
In Step #2, you will decide how to fill the gaps not covered by Original Medicare. Step #2 is not mandatory but highly recommended as Original Medicare does not cover all hospital, medical, and prescription drug costs. It also does not cover your dental, vision, or hearing benefits. Step #2 has several options that you can learn more about at What Medicare Plan To Choose.