You’re nearing your 65th birthday, but your mailbox is filling up with more junk mail than cards. With so much unsolicited input coming at you from all directions, it’s hard to know how, exactly, you should go about enrolling in Medicare. Fortunately, with the right information and assistance, you can make a smooth and informed transition to this exciting new stage of your life.
When it comes to celebrating your 65th birthday with Medicare, you’ve got some time to extend the party.
The seven months of the initial enrollment period span from three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and the three months after.
During this time, if you’re already drawing from Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board), you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B.Three months before your 65th birthday, you should receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. Your benefits will start on the first day of the month you turn 65 or, if your birthday is on the first of the month, they will start on the first day of the previous month.
Not ready to hang your hat? If you’re still working past age 65 and not drawing Social Security, you will need to enroll in Medicare manually. Enrollment will not be automatic! You can either visit the Social Security website, apply in person at your local Social Security office, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM. (TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.)
But don’t lose track of your calendar! If you fall under the category of manual enrollment, it’s important to do so during the Initial Enrollment Period. If you miss this window, you may incur late fees or have to wait until the General Enrollment Period between January 1 to March 31 of the following year.
Medicare discourages lapses in coverage by requiring documentation in certain cases. If enrolling after age 65, for example, you will need a letter from your current medical carrier stating you had medical and prescription coverage up until the day before your enrollment. But remember, there is no penalty for not enrolling in Medicare at age 65 as long as you are working and maintain health coverage under your employer's plan.
Turning 65 doesn’t have to be confusing! Learn more more about making the most of your Medicare insurance, and making the most of the best years of your life.« Back to Blog
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