How to Apply for Medicare

3 Easy Ways to Enroll

2. Call Toll-Free Number



3. Find nearest SS Office


Applying for Medicare

When you apply for Medicare, you can sign up for Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Part A is usually no charge. But because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you can turn it down. However, if you decide to enroll in Part B later on, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. Your monthly premium will go up 10 percent for each 12-month period you were eligible for Part B, but didn’t sign up for it, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.

COBRA and retiree health plans aren't considered coverage based on current employment. You're not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when that coverage ends. 

 If you’re eligible at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three months after that birthday. However, if you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you have another chance each year to sign up during a “general enrollment period” from January 1 through March 31. Your coverage begins on July 1 of the year you enroll.

Rules for higher income beneficiaries:

How does Social Security determine if I must pay higher Part B premiums?

Part B cost is based on income. To determine if you’ll pay higher premiums for Part B, Social Security uses the most recent federal tax return the IRS provides to them. If you must pay higher premiums, they use a sliding scale to make the adjustments, based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).

Your MAGI is your total adjusted gross income and tax-exempt interest income. If you file your taxes as “married, filing jointly” and your MAGI is greater than $170,000, you’ll pay higher premiums for your Part B and Medicare prescription drug coverage.

 If you file your taxes using a different status, and your MAGI is greater than $85,000, you’ll pay higher premiums as well.

How to Apply for Medicare:

You can apply online for Medicare even if you are not ready to retire. Use the online application to sign up for Medicare. It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done.

There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if they need more information. Otherwise, you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail.

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