How & When to Enroll for Medicare
There are many misconceptions about Medicare, and the timeline for enrollment is subject to so many variables. We’ve set out to demystify the confusion surrounding Medicare enrollment and provide clarity on when and how to sign up for it. Let’s get started.
When to Enroll in Medicare if An Individual Is Receiving Retirement Benefits
At the age of 65, individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) if they are receiving Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security. This is applicable if they sign up for Medicare Part B and retirement benefits simultaneously. Based on where the individual resides, they may also be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A but will have to enroll in Medicare Part B manually.
When to Enroll in Medicare if An Individual Is Receiving Disability Benefits
An individual under 65 who receives certain disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A, and Part B, after 24 months. If an individual develops amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), they will be enrolled in Original Medicare the same month their disability benefits commence.
When Can an Individual Enroll in Medicare if They Are Not Receiving Retirement Benefits?
If someone close to turning 65 does not yet receive retirement benefits, they can enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). If individuals want to postpone receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB) until after they turn 65, they can enroll in Medicare only and apply for retirement benefits later.
When Can an Individual Enroll in Medicare if They Do Not Qualify for Retirement Benefits?
If individuals are not qualified for Social Security or the RRB retirement benefits, they will not be automatically registered in Original Medicare. During their IEP, they can still sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B. An individual’s eligibility for premium-free Medicare Part A may be limited. The cost of their monthly Part A payment will be determined by the length of time they worked and paid Medicare taxes. The Medicare Part B premium will still have to be paid.
Medicare General Enrollment Period
Individuals who did not enroll during the IEP when they first became eligible can do so during the General Enrollment Period. Each year, the general enrollment period for Original Medicare runs from January 1 to March 31. Remember that individuals who didn’t sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B when they initially were eligible may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.