If you’re approaching your 65th birthday, you might be wondering about Medicare enrollment. Will you be automatically enrolled in Medicare, or do you need to take action to sign up? The answer depends on a few different factors, which we’ll explore in this article.
First, let’s cover some basics about Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that’s available to people who are 65 or older, as well as to younger people with certain disabilities or health conditions. Medicare is divided into several different parts, which cover different types of healthcare services:
- Medicare Part A: Covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and some home healthcare services.
- Medicare Part B: Covers doctor’s visits, outpatient care, preventive services, and some medical equipment and supplies.
- Medicare Part C: Also known as Medicare Advantage, this is an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) that’s offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans usually include prescription drug coverage and other benefits not covered by Parts A and B.
- Medicare Part D: Covers prescription drugs.
Now, let’s talk about Medicare enrollment. In most cases, you will not be automatically enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. However, there are a few situations in which you may be automatically enrolled:
- If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits: If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail about three months before your 65th birthday.
- If you’re receiving Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits: If you’re already receiving RRB benefits when you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail about three months before your 65th birthday.
- If you have ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease): If you have ALS, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B the month your disability benefits begin.
If you’re not automatically enrolled in Medicare, you’ll need to sign up yourself. The initial enrollment period for Medicare lasts for seven months, starting three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ending three months after. If you don’t sign up during this period, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty when you do enroll.
To enroll in Medicare, you can go to the Social Security website or visit your local Social Security office. You’ll need to provide some basic information, such as your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
The answer to whether you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65 depends on a few different factors. If you’re already receiving Social Security or RRB benefits, or if you have ALS, you will be automatically enrolled. Otherwise, you’ll need to sign up yourself during the initial enrollment period. Make sure you understand your options and take action in a timely manner to avoid any penalties or gaps in coverage.