Learning Center: How to Sign Up for Part A and Part B
Medicare coverage always begins with enrollment in Medicare Part A (hospital) and Medicare Part B (medical).
Medicare Part A pays primarily for inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing facility care after a hospital stay, home health care, and hospice care. Part B, meanwhile, helps pay for medical expenses, clinical laboratory services, and outpatient hospital treatment.
How do I sign up for Part A and Part B?
Medicare enrollment is a lot easier than you may think! In fact, you may not even have to sign up. If you’re already receiving Social Security (or Railroad Retirement) benefits, enrollment is automatic and you should receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before you turn 65.
But what if I’m not receiving those benefits?
Then, yes, you do have to sign up for Medicare. You can do so at any Social Security office, or you can apply online here in a matter of minutes.
When do I become eligible for Medicare?
Although there’s a possibility the age requirement will go up to 67 in the future, Americans currently are eligible for Medicare benefits when they turn 65. Some people are eligible earlier due to disability, but for most Americans Medicare eligibility begins at age 65.
If I’m eligible for Medicare at age 65, should I sign up for Part A and Part B before or after my 65th birthday?
If your eligibility begins when you’re 65, your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. That means, for example, if your birthday is on June 15, your Initial Enrollment Period will be from March 1 until September 3. Also, note that if your birthday falls on the first of the month, your Medicare coverage can begin on the first of the month before your birthday.
The short answer is that you’d be well advised to sign up for Part A and Part B well before your 65th birthday. If you sign up early in your Initial Enrollment Period, you’re sure to have coverage from the minute you’re eligible.
But what if don’t sign up during my Initial Enrollment Period?
Then you’ll have to wait until the following year’s General Enrollment Period lasting from January to March. Such a delay can be costly. You may be going without coverage you need, and you should also be aware that Medicare Part B premiums—if your enrollment is delayed by a year or more—increase by 10% for each year you could have enrolled but didn’t.
You may also have the opportunity to sign up during certain Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). MedicareMall will be happy to help you determine if and when you may be eligible for an SEP.
Is it necessary to sign up for Part A and Part B?
Yes, you must sign up for both. If, however, you decide you don’t want to keep Medicare Part B, simply return your Medicare card by following instructions you’ll receive with your card in the mail. Keeping the card is an indication that you intend to continue both Part A and Part B coverage.
How much does coverage cost per month?
The majority of people don’t pay any premiums at all for Medicare Part A coverage. Part B premiums, meanwhile, are usually $115.40 per month.
We’re eager to answer any further questions you may have about enrolling in Medicare. Contact MedicareMall now and let us put our two decades-plus of experience to work for you!