There are several different parts of Medicare, and the process to sign up can vary for each part. We’ll break down the different parts of Medicare, and how to sign up for them.
What are the Different Parts of Medicare?
Your Medicare insurance is divided into parts, and each part covers a different type of service. Simply put, Medicare Part A is your inpatient hospital benefits, Medicare Part B is your outpatient office visits, and Medicare Part D is your prescription medication coverage. Medicare Part A and Part B are often referred to as Original Medicare.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage plans, replaces the coverage of Medicare A and B. This is something that you’d choose to take, and by doing so, you’d receive your coverage from a private insurance plan rather than Original Medicare.
Instead of switching to an Advantage plan to help cover the gaps in Original Medicare’s coverage, many people purchase a Medicare Supplement plan instead. You can compare Medicare Advantage plans to Medicare Supplement plans to determine which is best for you.
How Do I Sign Up for Medicare Part A?
Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A premium-free when they turn 65. The requirements for this are that you’ve worked and paid into Social Security for 10 years, or you’re able to draw off of the benefits of a spouse that has done so. If you aren’t eligible for $0 premium Medicare Part A, you may need to pay up to $458 a month (in 2020). You can apply to sign up online on the Social Security website.
How Do I Sign Up for Medicare Part B?
If you’re drawing from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board before you turn 65, you’ll most likely be automatically enrolled in Part B, and the premium will be deducted from your benefit. In 2020, the premium for Part B for most people is $144.60. You can verify that you’ve been automatically enrolled by checking the Part B start date on your Medicare card. If a start date isn’t listed, you haven’t been enrolled.
If you aren’t receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits but would like to start Medicare, you can submit your Part B application up to 3 months in advance of the start date. You can sign up for Medicare Part B on the Social Security website, or by going into the Social Security office.
How Do I Sign Up for Medicare Part D?
Unlike Medicare Part A and Part B, you have different options for your Part D plan. The best Part D plan for you will depend on the medications you take, so it’s essential to have the most up-to-date information before signing up. You can speak with your GoMedigap agent to learn how to choose the best plan for you or call Medicare to sign up at 1-800-MEDICARE.
How Do I Sign Up for a Medicare Supplement Plan?
You can sign up for a plan easily with our online tool. Depending on your situation, you may need to answer questions about your health as part of the application process. So, if you’d prefer to work with one of our Medicare experts, or have questions along the way, we’re happy to provide you with the guidance that you need by phone at (877)896-4612. Our services are free, and we empower our clients to choose the plan that best fits their needs by educating them on all things Medicare.
When Can I Sign Up for Medicare?
Many people choose to enroll in Medicare when they turn 65, but this may not be the case for you (for instance, if you’re working and have creditable health and drug coverage through your employer, or if you’re on disability).
Most people sign up for Medicare at the beginning of their Initial Enrollment Period, which revolves around when your Medicare Part B starts. Your Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before the month you need your coverage to start and ends 3 months after your coverage started, lasting 7 months total. For instance, if you want your coverage to begin in June, you can submit your application as early as March. Typically, you want to submit your Medicare applications before your other insurance ends so that you don’t have any gaps in your coverage.
Are There Penalties for Failing to Enroll?
If you don’t have creditable coverage and you don’t sign up for Medicare in time, you could face serious consequences. Penalties range from increased premiums to having coverage delayed, during which time you’re responsible for the costs. You can avoid Medicare late enrollment penalties by ensuring that you sign up for coverage at the appropriate time.
Signing up for Medicare can seem tricky at first. Fortunately, we’re here to help you along the way. Enrolling in Medicare in a timely manner can ensure that you have the coverage that you need, and give you peace-of-mind about the future.
Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.