As you probably already know, 65 is the age when most people become eligible for Medicare, the federal government health insurance program for seniors. Younger people living with certain illnesses or disabilities may become eligible earlier.
If you are wondering how to go about enrolling for Medicare for seniors, there are a few things you ought to know. For example, the steps for enrolling in Medicare will differ depending on whether or not you are collecting retirement benefits when you enter your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
If you are receiving social security retirement benefits (or Railroad Retirement benefits), you should be automatically enrolled in both Medicare Part A (hospital care and related services) and Part B (doctor’s appointments and outpatient medical care) and don’t need to contact anyone. Instead, you should receive a package from the Social Security Administration (SSA) via mail three months before your coverage starts with a new Medicare card and a letter explaining how Medicare works. If you receive Railroad Retirement benefits, your package and card come from the Railroad Retirement Board.
However, if you are not receiving Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will need to enroll in Medicare yourself.
How to Sign Up for Medicare
If you need to enroll in Medicare yourself, you may take any of the following steps during your Initial Enrollment Period (lasting seven months, starting three months before you turn 65, and ending three months after the month you turn 65)to sign up for Part A and/or B:
- Visit your local SSA office.
- Call SSA at 800-772-1213.
- Mail a signed and dated letter to SSA that includes your name, social security number, and the date you would like to be enrolled in Medicare.
- Apply online at www.ssa.gov.
If you are eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits, you can enroll in Medicare by calling the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or contacting your local RRB field office.
Note: You should not turn down Part B unless you have insurance based on your or your spouse’s current work. If you don’t have job-based insurance and turn down Part B, you may incur a premium penalty if you need to sign up for Medicare coverage in the future. Also, if your job-based insurance will pay secondary after you become eligible for Medicare, you should consider enrolling in Medicare, so you have primary coverage and pay less for your care.
If you enroll over the phone or at your local SSA office, jot down the names of any representatives you speak with, as well as the time and date of the conversation. When enrolling at your local SSA office, also ask for a written receipt. If you enroll by mail, use certified mail and request a return receipt. If applying online, print out and save your confirmation page. These measures will provide proof that you tried to enroll and protect you from incurring a Part B premium penalty if your application is lost.
Medicare for Seniors in Miami, Florida
At Palm Medical Centers, we know how difficult and sometimes confusing applying for government assistance can be for seniors. That’s why, in addition to providing comprehensive medical care for our senior patients, we can help you access and obtain social services, including Medicare application and plan selections, available to you and your family. We have dedicated patient relations outreach representatives who work with ACCESS Florida representatives to streamline the process and help make it happen.
With multiple clinics located throughout Central and South Florida, there’s bound to be a Palm Medical Centers location near you.