Apply for Medicare – How and Where
Medicare is a national health insurance program designed for individuals 65 years of age and older, or those who are suffering from end-stage renal disease or permanent disabilities, regardless of age.
Medicare offers help in paying for hospital and physician or medical services, offered in sections known as Part A and Part B.
Part A is generally offered at no cost to individuals who have paid at least 10 years into the Medicare tax system through deductions in their paychecks. Part A covers hospitalization insurance coverage, while part B offers help in paying for physician- based services or other medical services not covered in Part A. Part B is optional.
Part B services must be paid for by individuals and averages between $95.00 and $120 a month, though seniors who wait to select Part B benefits may end up paying as much as 10% increased costs for the services for each 12 month period that they did not sign up for it when they first become eligible.
This 10% increase of cost remains for the remainder of their life. Therefore, it is suggested that seniors enroll in Part B Medicare at the same time they become eligible for Part A benefits.
Individuals are advised to apply Parts A and B at their local Social Security office within three months of the month they will turn 65. The General Enrollment Period when they apply for Medicare services begins three months before the individual turns 65, as well as the seven-month period following their birthday.
Individuals may contact the Social Security Administration to apply for Medicare by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting their local Social Security office or visiting the SSA website at Social Security Web Site
Premiums for Part B insurance are generally taken out of Social Security benefits, but may also be taken from Railroad Retirement Benefits or Civil Service Retirement payments. If an individual does not receive such payments, Medicare sends a bill for premiums every three months.
The General Enrollment Period when you would apply for Medicare benefits starts on January 1 of every year, and extends through March 31 of each year. If an individual determines not to take Part B when they first become eligible for Medicare, they may sign up for Part B benefits at any point in time during General Enrollment Periods in the future (January 1 through March 31), though as mentioned earlier, premiums may go up approximately 10% for each 12 month period that they declined Part B benefits in the past.
Individuals are eligible for Medicare if they are at least 65 years of age, are permanent residents of the United States, or citizens, and who have worked for a minimum of 10 years in employment scenarios that deducts Medicare taxes from paychecks.
However, individuals of any age may be eligible for coverage and can apply if they have been diagnosed with disabilities or permanent kidney failure, end stage renal disease, or renal disease that requires dialysis or kidney transplant.
Individuals may also receive benefits at age 65 without premium payments if they are already receiving benefits from Social Security, or the Railroad Retirement Board, or if they themselves or their spouse is covered by Medicare covered government employment benefits.
Individuals who are under age 65 may also receive benefits without paying premiums if they currently receive Railroad Retirement Board benefits, disability payments or Social Security benefits for 24 months prior to enrolment or are a kidney transplant patient or one who is undergoing kidney dialysis.
Seniors should note that they are eligible for Medicare benefits at 65, even if they have not been determined eligible for Social Security retirement benefits at that time.
Individuals seeking more information regarding the opportunity to apply for Medicare services may access the Medicare Web Site or by requesting additional information from the Social Security Administration at the number and website information provided above.
Seniors should understand enrollment requirements that apply for Medicare, benefits and premiums required for Medicare enrollment Parts A and B in order to make educated and effective decisions regarding their health care options.