Is Medicare Automatic?
The short answer: It depends.
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits (or Railroad Retirement Board benefits) when you become eligible to enroll in Medicare you should automatically receive your initial enrollment package around three months before you turn sixty-five or the 25th month of receiving disability benefits.
Your initial enrollment package will include your Medicare card.
If you keep the Medicare card you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
If you wish to refuse Part B, you should follow the instructions on the back of the card, which basically instruct you to contact Medicare. (Article: Why would I refuse Part B?)
If you are NOT receiving Social Security benefits when you become eligible for Medicare you will need to enroll with Social Security. (Note: This does NOT mean you must start receiving your monthly Social Security check.) You will want to apply three months before you turn 65. (You do NOT need to be retired to get Medicare.)
Related Video: 5 Common Mistakes People Make When Enrolling In Medicare
There are many ways to enroll.
- Go to medicare.gov and select the “Apply For Medicare” button. This will redirect you to the appropriate Social Security webpage.
- Go to ssa.gov. Select “Online Services,” then “Apply for Social Security Benefits,” and then under the “Medicare” heading select “Apply for Benefits.”
- You can call 1-800-772-1213
- TTY: 1-312-751-4701
- Visit your local Social Security Office
- If you’re retired from the Railroad, enroll with the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) by calling your local RRB office or 1-877-772-5772.
Please note: you may be asked if you wish to start other benefits, including receiving your monthly Social Security benefit, during this process. Carefully read/listen to all questions and if you don’t understand, speak with someone who does. Also, we recommend speaking with a financial counselor or advisor to help you understand if starting your monthly Social Security payments is right for you. Making a “mistake” may become irreversible and have lifetime consequences in the thousands of dollars. Social Security agents are not supposed to nor are they equipped to make recommendations regarding your Social Security benefits, which are many.
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