Enrolling in Medicare is pretty easy. However, it does depend on which group of people you fall under. There are different rules and eligibility requirements depending on whether you are over 65 and newly eligible for Medicare or under 65 and applying to Medicare for a different reason. To learn more about applying to Medicare depending on which group you belong to, read on.
Enrolling in Medicare
Enrolling in Medicare depends on which group of people you belong to. Medicare is for three groups of people: people 65 and older, younger people with disabilities, and younger people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). How you apply depends on which group you fall into. If you are turning 65 and newly eligible for Medicare because and you do not already receive Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, you have to sign up for Medicare through Social Security. If, however, you already receive social security or RRB benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare (Parts A and B in the U.S. Part A only in Puerto Rico).
If you’re under 65 but have a disability that would make you eligible for Social Security for at least 24 months, you may be able to apply for Medicare. Again, it depends on whether or not you already have Social Security. If you already receive Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B. If you do not already receive Social Security, you will have to contact the Social Security Administration to apply for both Social Security and Medicare, just like those turning 65, above.
If you are applying to Medicare because you have ESRD, the process is slightly different. You must apply through Social Security. You will not automatically be enrolled even if you already have Social Security.
The process of applying is fairly simple. However, one of the things that can make it more complicated is the enrollment periods. There are certain time periods in which you can enroll in Medicare or make changes to your plan. The enrollment periods are the:
- Initial Enrollment Period
- General Enrollment Period
- Special Enrollment Period
- Annual Enrollment Period
- Medicare Advantage/Open Enrollment Period
Since we are focusing on enrollment, we will elaborate on the three enrollment periods in which you are allowed to enroll: the Initial Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period, and the Special Enrollment Period. Each is described briefly below.
- This is a 7 month window that grants newly Medicare-eligible people the chance to enroll in Medicare. It starts three months before your 65th birthday.
Special Enrollment Period
- This period is meant for those who have lost coverage in one way or another. It typically lasts 2-3 months.
General Enrollment Period
- This period begins on January 1 and ends March 31. For those who missed their Initial Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period can be a good backup option. However, your coverage won’t begin until July 1 and you might have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
Even though Medicare is made to be applied to easily, it can still be confusing when trying to understand all the enrollment periods. Call us at Medigap Supplement Headquarters today to learn more about your enrollment options!