Simple steps to follow when it’s time to enroll for Medicare.
Enrolling in Medicare is a “Rite of Passage” that for many people is the culmination of years in the workforce, and along with Social Security benefits, tells us we are now retired. But when and how do you enroll for Medicare? Following are some simple, concise steps to help make the process less stressful.
You become eligible for Medicare at age 65 or younger, if disabled. This is called the Initial Enrollment Period. You have seven months to enroll, starting three months before your 65th birthday. Do not delay doing this, as there could be penalties. Keep in mind that you can sign up directly by contacting Medicare, or you can enroll through a private insurer that has a Medicare Advantage Plan. (This is a plan that offers extras, like dental or prescription plans.)
You are automatically enrolled in Part A Medicare at 65. If receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled after receiving those benefits for 25 months. If you decide to delay SS Benefits, or Railroad Retirement Benefits beyond age 65, you will still want to start Medicare enrollment at age 65.
Medicare Part B benefits cover your medical expenses. If you have insurance coverage with your employer, you may opt out of taking Part B. There is no penalty for doing this. Should you retire or lose your private insurance, you then have a Special Enrollment Period lasting 8 months in which to enroll.
If you have Amlytrophic Lateral Sclerosis Disease, or ALS, called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, enrollment is automatic with Medicare. With End-Stage Renal Disease, (ESRD or Renal Failure), you will have to call Medicare.