The process to sign up for Medicare can be confusing for people turning 65 years old and certain individuals that qualify through disability. These individuals are new to Medicare and are unfamiliar with the various parts of Medicare. The processes to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B are the easiest. If you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident and you have had at least 40 quarters of income where you paid Medicare taxes, you do not need to manually sign up for Medicare Part A or sign up for Medicare Part B as your enrollment will be automatic. Since Medicare Part B coverage requires a monthly premium, you have the option of refusing to sign up for Part B. Some individuals may qualify for Medicare through disability and will need to meet specific requirements in order to obtain Medicare benefits.
An often misunderstood aspect of Medicare is that if you sign up for one part of Medicare, you do not need to sign up separately for the other parts of Medicare. If you sign up for Parts A and B, your application will not sign you up for Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) or Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit. Those parts of Medicare require a separate Medicare sign up. Medicare beneficiaries may sign up for Part D or Part C during the Annual Coordinated Election Period, October 15th through December 7th of each year. Additionally, people may sign up for Medicare Parts C and D when they first sign up for Medicare Part A and B. Call 888-312-4066 for help on how to sign up for Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare Part D or complete the form to the right of this page.
Should I Sign Up for Medicare If I Am Still Working and Have Health Insurance?
You may want to wait to sign up for Medicare Part B if you still work and have health insurance through your employer or union. If you did sign up for Medicare Part B, you would have to pay the monthly Part B premium even though your existing health insurance would be the primary payer for your medical bills. Another downside if you sign up for Part B when you already have employer or union health insurance is that your Medigap open enrollment period would begin. Medigap open enrollment is the six-month period where a Medigap plan would not use medical underwriting when considering your Medicare sign up. Since it is unlikely you would sign up for Medicare Supplement insurance insurance while you already have health insurance through your employer or union, you would waste this Medigap open enrollment period to sign up without any policy underwriting.
Medicare.gov recommends that you sign up for Medicare Part A when you turn 65 even if you have health insurance through an employer or union. Under certain circumstances, if you sign up for Medicare Part A, Medicare may cover some hospitalization expenses not covered under your existing health insurance. Moreover, most people do not pay any monthly premium to sign up for Medicare Part A because they have worker 40 quarters or more in a Medicare-covered employment.
If you want help to sign up for Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Medicare has neither approved nor endorsed this information.