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How to Apply for Medicare

Birthday Cake with 65 candle 65, it's time to apply for Medicare

Are you approaching your 65th birthday? It’s time to start thinking about what you need to do to apply for Medicare.

You have a range of different options when applying for Medicare. In this week’s blog post, we’ll discuss how to do it and when.

How do I apply for Medicare?

You can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B by:

  • Going to SocialSecurity.gov
  • Calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778). This line is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Visiting your local Social Security office.

Medicare enrollment formWhen do you need to apply for Medicare?

In most cases, it’s a good idea to apply for Medicare upon turning 65. You have a seven-month window in which to enroll: three months before the month you turn 65 and three months after the month where you celebrate your 65th birthday.

Applying late can leave you open to some steep financial penalties, which is why you should apply while the enrollment window is open.

And enrollment will be different depending on whether you already get benefits from Social Security.

Medicare Health Insurance Card in handWhat do I need to do if I already get Social Security?

If you’re already receiving Social Security – or get benefits from the Railroad Retirement system – you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B on the first day of the month in which you turn 65. (We’ll go into the different parts of Medicare below.)

Three months before you turn 65, you should expect your Medicare card in the mail. You should also expect a package that outlines some of the decisions you need to make, such as whether to enroll in Medicare Part B. (Part B is not necessary if you’re covered under by non-Medicare insurance through your job or a union.)

This is pretty important. If you were supposed to enroll in Part B but fail to do so, you can be open to a 10 percent premium increase for every year you didn’t apply.

What if I’m not receiving Social Security?

If you don’t get Social Security or railroad benefits, you’ll still become eligible for Medicare three months before turning 65. However, this enrollment won’t happen automatically. You’ll need to call or apply online. It’s a good idea to apply for Medicare Part A as soon as you can, even if you already have other health insurance.

What’s do the different Medicare parts do?

Patient after exam by doctorWe’ve gone into more detail in earlier blog posts, but:

  • Medicare Part A covers hospital care
  • Medicare Part B covers outpatient care and preventive services
  • Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, provides options for extra coverage, including dental and vision care
  • Medicare Part D covers prescriptions

Again, we recommend you check out our blog, where we’ve discussed each part of Medicare, as well as the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, in greater detail.

Elite straight stairliftWe’ve been talking a lot about Medicare recently because Medicare can be a complicated program, and we’re in the business of making life simpler for senior citizens.

That’s why we’re dedicated to working with Philadelphia area seniors – and other customers with mobility issues – to making their homes more accessible with our stair lifts and other devices. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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