I’m About to Turn 65, How Do I Enroll in Medicare?
As you turn 65, you’ll be entering your IEP, Initial Enrollment Period. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is when you initially become eligible for Medicare. Now you can enroll in a Medicare plan. You have a seven-month window around the month you turn 65 to first sign up for a Medicare plan. This seven-month period consists of the three months before your birth month, your birthday month and three months following your birth month.
Your first step is to enroll in Medicare Parts A & B. Well, how do I do that?
- If you are receiving Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled into Medicare Parts A & B with effective dates that are the first day of the month you were born. If you were born on the 1st of the month, your start date will be the 1st of the month prior. You should receive your Medicare card about 3-months prior to your birth month.
- If you are not receiving Social Security benefits, then you need to register and signup on Medicare.gov or call your local Social Security office to schedule a meeting with a representative. You want to start this process about 100 days prior to your birth month.
- What if you want to delay Part B because you are still working or have credible coverage from your current employer or maybe as a dependent under your spouse’s employer group insurance plan.
- If you want to delay your Part B coverage, you must refuse Part B before your Medicare coverage has started. You have two options for refusing your Part B.
- Option 1 is to follow the instructions that come with the card and send it back. The instructions are very straight forward and easy to follow. If you keep the card, you are keeping Part A and Part B.
- Option 2 is to contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
- Please note that if you don’t get Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty. However, you may not pay a penalty if you delay Part B because you have coverage based on your (or your spouse’s) current employment.
WARNING: If you miss the initial enrollment period and don’t sign up for Medicare Parts A, B or Part D when you’re first eligible, your coverage may be delayed, or you could face lifetime penalties later when you enroll and that may end up costing you more.
*People under 65 may be Medicare eligible with certain disabilities, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease).