The Medicare enrollment process can be troublesome for many people. There is often confusion about when and where, and how to apply. There is one specific question that gets asked a lot. Can you apply for Medicare online? Yes, you can. Keep reading to learn more.
General Medicare Information
You can only apply for Medicare Part A and Part B through the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you’re new to Medicare, you should know Part A and Part B serve as the foundation for most of Medicare insurance.
There are three ways to apply for Medicare: over the phone, in person, and online. Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t like talking on the phone, or your local Social Security (SS) office is closed due to the pandemic. Whatever the case may be, applying for Medicare online can often be the easiest option for people. However, if you’re someone who’s been receiving SS benefits for at least four months, your enrollment in Part A and Part B will be automatic.
If you won’t be automatically enrolled, here’s how the online enrollment process works. You visit the SSA official website and navigate to the ‘Retirement Benefits’ section. Once there, you can apply for SS benefits and Medicare or just Medicare. Navigate to the ‘Medicare Benefits’ section to apply solely for Medicare and find the ‘Apply for Medicare Only’ button.
Before enrolling in Medicare, it’s best to have a basic understanding of how it works. You don’t have to be an expert, but it will make the process easier for you to know the structure of Medicare. It’s also important to ensure you have all the information you need to enroll smoothly before applying. The SSA recommends you gather information about any current health insurance, U.S. Military service, employer details, direct deposit information, and more.
When to Apply for Medicare
Something else to keep in mind is when to apply for Medicare. Many people aren’t aware that there are Medicare enrollment deadlines to meet. Although there are many Medicare enrollment dates and periods, the most important one to know is the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is when most people should enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. The IEP lasts for seven months total. It begins three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after your 65th birthday month.
But what happens if you miss your IEP? If you can’t provide proof of creditable coverage, you will be charged a lifelong penalty. You will be charged 10% for every 12-months that you were supposed to be enrolled in Part B. There are some cases where people can delay enrolling in Medicare without a penalty. For example, if you work for a large employer and are covered by their insurance, then you can delay Medicare until you retire. However, most people should enroll in Medicare during their IEP to avoid any late enrollment penalties.
There are a few common misconceptions people have about the Medicare enrollment process. First, some think you need to be receiving SS benefits to enroll in Medicare. However, this is not true. You do not need to be receiving SS benefits to enroll in Medicare.
Second, many people believe you must re-enroll in Medicare every year. The belief that you must re-enroll each year is also false. Once you are enrolled in Medicare and any other Medicare plans, you don’t need to apply again. Whatever plans you are enrolled in will automatically renew each year.
The Medicare enrollment process can be daunting. There is a lot of information to process and many factors to consider. To avoid the stress of Medicare enrollment, you should prepare ahead of time and know what to expect.