Do I Have to Enroll in Medicare? How?

For most people, Medicare begins on the first day of the month in which you turn 65. So if your 65th birthday is September 19th, your Medicare coverage will take effect on September 1.

(Note: Medicare is available to people under the age of 65 in certain circumstances, such as those receiving Social Security disability benefits. We’re focused on those age 65 and over).

Medicare enrollment begins 3 months before you turn 65 and continues for 7 months. But you’ll want to get everything taken care of in those first three months before you actually turn 65 so everything will start then.

Medicare Part A Enrollment

For most people, enrollment in Medicare Part A happens automatically. Usually you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail a month or so before you turn 65. It will look something like this:

Medicare Part B Enrollment

When it comes to Medicare Part B, some people are enrolled automatically, but that’s not true for everyone (because of the monthly payment). The Part B premium is normally deducted from your Social Security check, but many people don’t start receiving that until age 66 (or even later).

When your Medicare card arrives, it will show you if you’ve been automatically enrolled in Part B (you’ll see the effective date like you do on the image of the card above). If you aren’t enrolled in Part B, you’ll need to do so at Medicare.gov.

(If you have health insurance coverage through your employer, you may decide not to enroll in Part B when you turn 65. In this case, you’ll be able to do so without any penalty when you leave your employer’s coverage.)

Medicare Supplements and Part D

You have to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B before you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan and/or a Part D prescription drug plan. That’s another reason to make sure you’ve gotten that taken care of a month or two before you actually turn 65. That way you can sign up for these supplemental plans in time for them to take effect the month you turn 65.

Medicare Supplement plans are standardized by the government and sold by private insurance companies. While there are a lot of plans you could consider, nearly everyone purchases Plan F (the vast majority) or Plan G.

Even though the plans are standardized, the best option may not be the cheapest one.

If you’d like to get quotes from reliable, stable Medicare supplement plans, please contact us. We’ll send you some prices and won’t bother you!

There are a lot of Part D plans for prescription drugs, and they don’t all cover the same drugs and/or pharmacies. The best one for you will depend on what drugs you take and where you get them.

We’ve written a detailed, step-by-step guide to choosing a Part D drug plan here. 

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