White House Conference on Aging: What You Need to Know First About Enrolling in Medicare

SSA-and-CMS-Accomplishments-Medicare-IEP-3A healthy life is a good life. The Medicare benefits you’ve earned ensure that you can receive the care you need, when you need it.

And, when it comes to Medicare benefits, the most important thing to remember is to apply for them at age 65.

On your behalf, advocacy groups asked us to place a greater emphasis on information about enrolling in Medicare at age 65, and specifically, about the potential problems that arise if you don’t.

In the past few months, in conjunction with the White House Conference on Aging, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration have strengthened many of our communications products to ensure that all people nearing age 65 hear the following message:

Three months before your 65th birthday, you should apply for Medicare benefits. At that time, you’ll be asked to elect if you also want Medicare Part B that helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that hospital insurance doesn’t cover. If you don’t sign up at age 65, and you then decide to enroll later, you may pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in medical insurance coverage. There are exceptions, but play it safe, and ask your Medicare or Social Security representative about your personal situation.

To make this message clear, our two agencies have already:

In the next few months, CMS will update their website and the Medicare initial enrollment period package; revise more Medicare publications; and add online resources for people who are still working.

Visit Medicare.gov to find out more about enrolling in Medicare. And, remember to apply online for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday!

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117 thoughts on “White House Conference on Aging: What You Need to Know First About Enrolling in Medicare

  1. I’m over 66 I’ll be 67 in December, I have not applied for social security benefit yet, I’ll be applying before the end of the year. What are the costs involved as far as my Medicare ?

      • I receive Medicare through my husband’s Social Security investment over his lifetime of working. (Being a teacher in Texas means we are affected by the GPO, Government Pension Offset, meaning that if we apply for any SS, our teacher retirement pension is offset by what we receive from SS). Thanks goodness, I have been able to subscribe to Medicare through my husband’s SS. I have authorized a bank withdrawal by Medicare for my premium of $104.90. Husband’s Medicare premium is deducted before his monthly SS check is deposited.

        • Note: We have Parts A and B, and we signed up for Medicare the year we became 65 (We are the same age — 2 months difference.)

        • I am also to be penalized by the Windfall calculation. So, are you simply postponing receiving SS, or have you found a way around this unfair practice?

    • Hi Khalil, and thank you for your question. You do not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) if you worked long enough in jobs where you paid taxes for Social Security and Medicare. The standard Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) monthly premium for 2015 is $104.90. Higher income beneficiaries pay more.

      If you have not applied for Medicare, you should do so as soon as possible, even if you are not ready to start receiving retirement benefits yet. If you are still working and covered under a group health plan based on your employment, you can decline Medicare Part B until you stop working or drop your health care coverage.

      For more information, please read our publication, “Apply Online for Medicare in Less Than 10 Minutes – Even If You Are Not Ready to Retire”.

      • Please check with your employer BEFORE you file for Medicare at age 65. Following the info in this thread I discovered that I must terminate contributions to my health care spending account. Both me and my employer must withdraw any $$ contributed after my birthday. My employer suggested that I withdraw from Medicare to reinstate the HSA. A lot of time wasted over incorrect advise

        • We appreciate your comment Rick, and we agree! That’s our advice to individuals nearing age 65 who plan to continue to work — to speak to their personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan representative prior to enrolling in the Medicare program, to find out what’s best for them.

          • I am in the same quandary and have been trying to get OFF Medicare for 10 months. The Social Security office says it will happen but it has not. Any suggestions?

          • Hi Michaelene. If you are talking about your Medicare Part B, our policy requires a personal interview be conducted with everyone who wants to terminate their Medicare Part B benefits. Representatives at your local Social Security office will help you submit the required Form CMS-1763, “Request for Termination of Premium Hospital and /or Supplementary Medical Insurance”, or your signed request for termination, but we need to speak to you personally before we terminate your Medicare benefits to be sure that you fully understand the consequences of doing so. We do not offer Form CMS-1763 online. If you’ve already had this personal interview, please continue to stay in touch with your local office or call us at our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to keep track of the status of your request.
            In most cases, you can only request disenrollment or changes to your Medicare Part C & D during the Annual Enrollment Periods, and would need to contact Medicare directly at 1-800-633-4227. Or, you can also contact your Medicare plan provider for more information.

  2. My husband and I are still fully employed, have registered for Medicare A, but are covered by his work policy. What do we need to do to comply as described in your message above?
    Lorna Horishny
    George Horishny

  3. i will be 65 in December. I went to the Social Security office in June. They informed me that SSA has a new process of sending out the Medicare card. What should I do? I have TRICARE as my insurance and I don want to lose that.

    • When you apply for Medicare, make sure you apply for Part B. If you don’t do this you will not qualify for Tricare for life.

    • I had Medicare and Tricare for Life is my supplemental insurance. They pay what Medicare doesn’t. Plus T for L pays for drugs so I don’t need Part D.
      Really great IMHO.

        • T for L is Tricare for Life. This is the Military RETIREMENT Health Insurance. Even though medical care was supposed to be free for life (big selling point upon joining), the military now has to pay for the Part B coverage like anyone else in order to keep the Tricare for Life Coverage. T for L then picks upon most medical co-pays and gives Part D coverage – there is still a copay for all non-generic drugs. There is a recent trial program where generic drugs are free if you do mail order, but I expect that will not last. Co-pay for all drugs from local providers.

    • Darlene, if you are already getting Social Security retirement benefits, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically, and you should receive your card in the mail no later than a couple of weeks prior to the month you turn 65. You can create a my Social Security account to take advantage of the “new process” that allows beneficiaries to obtain immediate proof of Medicare coverage, or order a replacement Medicare card online. If you have coverage under a program from the Department of Defense, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare, so please contact TRICARE or a military health benefits advisor for more information. To learn more about Medicare, and for more information on how other health insurance plans work with Medicare, go to http://www.medicare.gov.

  4. If I had known what I know now… I would of gotten the part B when I turned 65 … but like a fool I didn’t think I would need it. Now I am 69 yrs of age… came down with Cancer… I put in for the Part B and found out that I will be paying $165.oo for the rest of my life every month from now on…so please don’t be a fool like me’ read up on this and do it the right way from day one’…

    • Be aware, the Part B penalty is 10% for each 12 month period without Part B. If Part B premium rises, the penalty amount will also rise to reflect the percentage. Part D penalty is 1% for each month based on the yearly benchmark.

  5. When will the people residing overseas be able to get reimbursed for their medical expenses under Part B? I’m paying for part B right now and it gives me no benefit overseas. When will the law be changed! It’s very unfair to us expats! I can only use it in the USA. I hope the next president will do something about this situation!

    • Hi John. Many Social Security beneficiaries who live abroad choose to enroll in Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) at age 65, knowing they’d be paying premiums for coverage they cannot take advantage of, because they plan on moving back to the United States, or come here frequently. All beneficiaries who enroll in Part B must pay a premium, regardless of where they live. If you wish to terminate your Medicare Part B enrollment, a signed request for termination and a personal interview are required. You will need to contact your local embassy or consulate for assistance and to discuss your options.

  6. Why is Medicare not available to USA citizens living in Europe? I chose Part A but not Part B because its not applicable in Italy. And why must I pay an enormous fee if I decide to take Part B when I return to the states.

    I feel it would be fair if there was an exemption from the retroactive fee for people living abroad who later return to the states.

    • Hi Stanley — sorry for the delay in providing a response to your questions. We researched this issue extensively to give you answers and provide information for others in the same situation.

      Medicare is a health insurance program based on residence in the U.S. and its territories, although certain exceptions apply to Medicare Coverage Outside the United States. All beneficiaries who enroll in Part B must pay a premium, regardless of where they live. Many Social Security beneficiaries who live abroad choose to enroll in Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) at age 65, knowing they’d be paying premiums for coverage they cannot take advantage of, because they plan on moving back to the United States, or come here frequently. However, if you’re a U.S. citizen living in a foreign country, over age 65, and NOT eligible for Social Security benefits, you won’t have to pay a higher premium if you enroll in Part B within 3 months of your return to the U.S.

      Unfortunately, there is no exemption to the surcharge if you do not enroll during your IEP, unless you have proof that you’ve been working and covered by a current employer and qualify for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You will have a chance to enroll in Medicare Part B during the General Enrollment Period (GEP), which occurs every year from January 1 through March 31, and yes, a late enrollment penalty may apply. For more information about enrollment periods see our publication Medicare.

      Remember to contact your local U.S. embassy for any assistance or other specific questions in regards to your Social Security benefits.

  7. I have been on the state ship program for few years now. And my extra carrier I could never get in to see the doctor. That I needed to see specialist. The last year they sent me an ahccess card which I figured it was Medicare ahccess program. Just said to use this card. So I have see a specalist. Did some GI procedures.

  8. I am 61 yrs old and have Social Security Disability. At what year will my account be changed to regular Social Security? And will my monthly check change in the amount that I regularly get now?

    • Most likely your retirement age for regular Social Security is 66 yrs. Your SSA statement specifies your retirement age and your disability will change to regular then and no your monthly amount will not change. Please visit http://www.ssa.gov and you can get all the specific answers to your questions and most of all, open an online account to view your statements, etc..

    • Thanks for your question, Daniel. When you reach full retirement age, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

  9. I have been on widows benefits Medicare for a few years. It is a Good thing that I am my own DR. Because I would be dead if I depended on these programs. I guess if I was a non working person I would have got better care.

  10. its all designed 2 get ur $ jw that is so they can hav their merc and liv on the top on mtn in glendale.and dat foo at da top is respons 4 all dis sh his wife is worse.shhhhhh

    • its all designed 2 get ur $ jw that is so they can hav their merc and liv on the top on mtn in glendale.and dat foo at da top is respons 4 all dis sh his wife is worse.shhhhhh a ho foo s

  11. I will be 65 on Aug. 19th and am I eligible for Part B? I have not applied for social security benefits and I have worked all my life at different jobs. I waited until I was 65 just so I could get the full benefits. How can I find out what is the best plan for me who do I call?

    • Diane, since you will be 65 soon, you should sign up now for Medicare benefits. If you have been working all of your life, you are most likely eligible for both Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). Then you can apply for your retirement benefits later.

      There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when to retire. Visit our Retirement Planner to estimate your retirement benefits and determine the best retirement age for you. The earliest age one can get retirement benefits is 62, and the current full retirement age is 66. If you choose to get benefits before your full retirement age, they will be reduced. When you are ready to apply for retirement benefits, you can complete your application online in as little as 15 minutes!

  12. I was 58 yrs old became injured on the job I have Lumbar Radiculopathy ,Sciatics and now at the age of 62 and ran out of money aug 2014 I needed help found out That Working People USA don’t have any knowledge of how to help themselves their state medical assistance program they need to find help through them before 65 because if a supervisor says they don’t remember your accident you don’t have any benefits paid to you.

  13. I don’t understand why all the extra help insurance companys are so different when it comes tout what they will pay for and what they will not

  14. Why should there be a penalty for older people that doesn’t sign up for Medicare 3 months before turning 65. There shouldn’t be a penalty at all for these older people no matter when they decide to sign up.

    • Janet, the deadlines and penalties are established by law, so we advise people to apply for Medicare benefits as soon as they are eligible. When a person first becomes eligible for Medicare hospital insurance (Part A), they have a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) in which to sign up for medical insurance (Part B). If you’re eligible at age 65, your IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends three months after your 65th birthday. Under certain conditions, people may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which would allow Medicare Part B sign up if they are past their Initial Enrollment Period. If you are still working and covered under a group health plan based on that employment, you may be entitled to a Special Enrollment Period and not need to file for Medicare part B until you stop working or drop your health care coverage. If a person applies for Medicare Part B after age 65 and does not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, he or she can sign up only during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). The GEP lasts from January 1 through March 31 of each year with coverage beginning July 1. Most people who sign up for Part B during the GEP will have a 10 percent increase in monthly premiums for each 12-month period that they did not enroll, but were eligible. Please read our publication “Medicare” for more information.

  15. I have a friend her husband was a government employee. When he died his wife received her pension. When she turn 65 she didn’t receive Medicare. Please explain, thank you for your assistance.

    Sincerely

    Luke Pham

    • Hi Luke. To qualify for Medicare benefits, your friend or her husband must have worked long enough in jobs where they paid Medicare taxes. Some government employees are exempt from paying these taxes. For security reasons, we do not have access to personal information on this blog, so your friend should call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, for specific information about Medicare coverage available for her. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

      • — since I posted this I have twice heard from others about the importance of resaitonlhip with our prospects, and that its much more like courting them than selling them.

  16. We want Medicaid!!! Medicaid has been revamped to pay the bills without any copays or deductibles. Poor OASDI beneficiaries, making less than $1,000 a month must not be forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on defective medical care, money they could have formerly. SSA really needs to provide their beneficiaries, especially the poor ones, with prioritized access to food stamps and Medicaid, just like SSI. It is downright wrong for OASDI beneficiaries making less than the SSI income guarantee to be denied food stamps and Medicaid. Free Medicaid for the poor. Sell Medicaid to the working and rich taxpayers at Medicare prices. Abolish Medicare. Medicare steals our drug money like Burwell’s enforcement has stolen our online pharmaceutical industry with the unlawful detention orders against an Indian diplomat and the Chinese guy who translated the labels.

  17. For those living overseas and returning to the US after age 65, there is possibly no penalty for late enrollment for Medicare if you have been continuously covered under another health insurance, which, in Europe, is most likely the country’s health care program. Be sure to obtain proof of continuous coverage before returning to the US.

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  18. I enrolled in MEDICARE A in 2008 only after discussing with my health plan about MEDICARE B. Now I received a bill for the full amount of Physical Therapy. If I enrolled in MEDICARE B, what would be my current costs, including any penalty?

    • Jack, the Medicare premium for Part B in 2015 is $104.90 per month, but higher income beneficiaries pay more. Those who apply for Medicare Part B after their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) at age 65 can sign up only during the general enrollment period (GEP). The GEP lasts from January 1 through March 31 with coverage beginning July 1. Most people who sign up for Part B during the GEP will have a 10 percent increase in monthly premiums for each 12-month period that they did not enroll, but were eligible. If you are still working and covered under a group health plan based on that employment, you may not need to file for Medicare part B until you stop working or drop your health care coverage, and you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which would allow you to sign up for Medicare Part B without penalties. Please read our “Medicare” publication for more information.

      For security reasons we do not have access to information about your specific account in this venue. To determine your costs, it is best to call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.,

  19. Where is a good source of information for finding out and deciding whether to keep my employer’s insurance plan as supplemental/secondary after my retirement? Is there a difference between supplemental and secondary, and if so what is it?

  20. I am a Federal govt employee and will still be working when I turn 65. I know I don’t have to enroll in part B until after I retire, but what about Part D? Can I wait to sign up for Part D until I sign up for Part B without a penalty?

    • Good question Ann! Anyone who has Medicare hospital insurance (Part A), medical insurance (Part B), or a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) is eligible for prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D). Joining a Medicare prescription drug plan is voluntary, and you would pay an additional monthly premium for the coverage. As with Part B enrollment, you will not be penalized to enroll in Medicare Part D after age 65, as long as you are covered under an employer’s group health insurance program. For more information and to understand more about Medicare Part D enrollment periods, visit http://www.Medicare.gov.

  21. an old ex government employee I know a little about red tape I have ssi and social security and so does my youngest son he is disabled learning dissabality.am I reading between the lines is all this going to end after this year or what I can remember what our late president did in the past but that I know is gone I have helped my Children And tried to teach them wright from wrong.

  22. When I approached 65 I signed up for Medicare Part A even though I was still employed full-time. As I neared retirement I signed up for Part B, supplemental medical insurance (Aetna), and drug coverage (Humana). Aetna and Humana both sent me “Welcome” packages and an I.D. number with wallet card. Fast-forward eight months and I call Humana to find out how to process my first prescription since joining only to be told that my coverage began December 1, 2014 and was cancelled the same day because Medicare said I was ineligible. No one, however, thought it necessary to notify me. Several weeks of phone calls from myself and my insurance agent have resulted in Humana pointing the finger at Medicare, and Medicare telling us they never said to deny me coverage. Humana can’t identify any letter, email, or phone reference number from Medicare that would support their claim but stand by their processing code number that says it was denied because of direction from Medicare. Medicare said they have no record of advising Humana to deny my coverage and that there would have been no reason to have done so, but since I don’t have coverage I can’t enroll again until October “open enrollment” to take effect January 1, 2016 and must pay a lifetime penalty for failure to enroll when I retired. It’s a bit frustrating when I have proof that I did enroll in a timely manner, but have to pay the penalty because of gross incompetence/lack of record keeping for Humana, and possibly Medicare too. What does it take to get honest answers from either of the two mega-agencies responsible for this problem???? Did I mention that neither agency notified me of the cancellation or reason, and that I was issued an I.D. number (Yes, I think I did).

    • We are sorry to hear about your situation in regards to having to pay a penalty for late enrollment, and can understand your frustration.
      If you have proof to support that your initial enrollment happened timely, you need to contact Medicare and request an appeal. You can request an appeal if Medicare or your plan stops providing or paying for all or part of a health care service. We hope this information is helpful.

    • Good website! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have surbscibed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  23. Am so confused.., not sure if I need to sign up now for extra medicare or medicap plan.
    Early this yr, my position was eliminated & I was laid off. Unable to find another job, worried about my bills, so I decided to sign up for early ss benefits. I will turn 65 end of Nov & my 1st medicare part b payt will be deducted from my
    Nov ss check.
    Thankful, I only need to take pill for my underactive thyroid. I have many bills to pay from unsuccessful business so cannot afford to pay for extra coverage w/ss ck
    I hope to be able to find.another job soon & maybe in a couple yrs to sign up for drug or medicap coverage.
    But, I heard I may have to pay more later if I don’t sign up now for suppl coverage.
    Please.., does anyone know if that is true?

  24. I work for a school system that does not participate in social security. some of my teachers fall under the program that if you were hired before 1986 and never left our employ you were exempt from medicare. Now they are trying to access medicare in order to keep their insurance but are told they have not paid any in. Is this true? How can we fix this so they can acess medicare?

  25. I will be 65 in January, and have been receiving Social Security retirement benefits for a few years. I enrolled in the exchange when it started, and have been paying $10 a month. I received the packet a few weeks ago, part B will cost me $125 per month. Seriously, if I am now poor enough to pay $10 a month, why will turning 65 suddenly make me wealthy enough to pay $115 more? Is there no way to keep what I have?

  26. I turned 65 in March 2015 and was enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. I am also covered by my wife’s health insurance and I also have Tricare for Life. Do I need to keep Medicare Part B? If not how do I cancel it? Will it affect my Tricare for Life?

    • Good questions Larry! Generally, individuals can decline or delay enrollment into Medicare Part B when covered under an employer’s group health insurance coverage. However, current law requires TRICARE beneficiaries who are entitled to Medicare Part A to enroll in Medicare Part B to retain their TRICARE benefits. Please visit the TRICARE web page or contact the Department of Defense or a military health benefits advisor for more information.

  27. My working husband turned 65 June 2015 and was also diagnosed with slow growing brain cancer. He has no cure or remission recourse. Does he still have to buy into Medicare A or B? He reaches full retirement age at 66. Does he have to be enrolled in Medicare in order to receive his retirement benefits?

  28. I retired July of 2013, received SS benefits starting Jan of 2014. Wife is retiring Jan, 2016. I am primary under her
    health ins but will be secondary after Jan,2016. I have PartA, do I need to sign up for Part B Medicare?

    • Thanks for your question, Harlan. If you are covered under a group health plan based on your wife’s current employment, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that will let you sign up for Medicare Part B. You should always check with your health benefits advisor, or health plan representative to see what’s best for you. For more information call us at 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 AM and 7 PM and ask a representative to assist you, or contact your local office. We hope this information helps!

  29. Why does TRICARE for Life force me to have and pay for Medicare while living overseas? Medicare does not cover people living overseas and is therefore useless. Again, I am a permanent resident overseas not entitled to a dime of Medicare yet forced by TRICARE to have and pay for Medicare. If I decide not to have Medicare, TRICARE will no longer cover me. ????

  30. Hello,
    At 65 I went off my employer’s medical insurance. It had a $5000. yearly Deductible, 20% co-pays, co-pays at doctors. Urgent care was applied to deductible. Had viision. The prescription plan was decent. I was paying $40. Week. Never had a problem with getting scripts or worrying about a gap. I never had enough done for the ins. To pay because deductible always came into play.
    I spoke with an agent my mom had for supplemental ins. To Medicare and the decision was best to get off employer ins. And go Medicare A, B, C, and got D. Before I could do this, I had to get a raise to help with the increase in higher cost. It doesn’t cover all of it. Medicare insurance. It’s not cheap!. Now I pay $104.90 for B, about $190 for supplement – Give or take Because I don’t remember exact price. It pays all the Medicare deductibles, and 46.10 for scripts. That all adds up to way more than what I was paying with employer ins.. Scripts are scary. Gap comes into play. D scripts don’t have many tier 1 or 2 on their plans. Scripts can get pretty pricy.
    So now, I wonder if I should have stayed with employer ins and paid less, no raise and take chances with high deductible and etc.
    Medicare supplement ins and scripts go up almost yearly. Already had increase on scripts.
    Sorry to ramble. Sometimes you wonder if the right decision was made.

  31. I am permanently disabled and have been on SS Disability since the 90’s. I only have Part A, as my husband has wonderful healthcare coverage through his employer that he pays extra for me(covering more than Medicare), and so we have used that. Now with all the healthcare laws changing, laws being incorporated over HSAs, etc. I am now being told most likely he will eventually have to drop me off his insurance because of the HSA and Medicare conflict. How do they expect me to pay for a penalty for Part B going all the way back to the 1990’s?

    • Thank you for your question Cheryl. You may not have to pay a penalty if you have been covered under your husband’s employer health insurance program. A beneficiary may refuse Medicare Part B, during his or her Initial Enrollment Period, if that beneficiary or the spouse, actively works and has coverage under a group health plan based on that employment, then he or she doesn’t need Medicare part B until the work activity ends or that health care coverage is dropped. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit http://www.Medicare.gov.
      For specific questions about your case, call 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you, or you can contact your local office directly. Hope this helps!

  32. I have received SSI since 2012 and in Jan. I turned 62 and it stopped along with my medicaid. Can I be eligible for medicare, since I’ve received the SSI for four straight yrs.?

    • Thank you for your question Deborah. Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older.
      People younger than age 65 that have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months or individuals with permanent kidney failure can also qualify for Medicare. If you’re already getting Social Security benefits, we’ll contact you a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and send you information. Generally, individuals receiving benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program are only eligible for Medicaid, which is a state-run program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income. For more information, visit http://www.medicare.gov.

  33. I have medicare and was contacted by my advocate to help me get my medicare payment paid for me. It took a long time for me to get notice I was approved. Now I’m told they will start making my payments next month , will this be retroactive back to when I turned 65 and stared paying medicare?

    • Hi Charlie, we suggest that you contact your advocate to find out when this change became effective. Thanks!

  34. I am on SS Disabilty since March, 2016.
    Am I currently 61 years old and am wondering if I am available for Medicare parts A, B and D.

    I am using Cobra now from my last employer but it will expire in Feb. 2017, not to mention the $1500 a month it costs.
    Can anyone give me advice, answers or directions I need to take?
    It would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hello Mr. Garner. Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure. You will receive Medicare after you receive disability benefits for 24 months. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first check. We hope this information helps.

  35. we would like to know how we can cancel medicare program..its about to start next month and we will have to pay $194 a month and that is way too steep

    • Hi Arleen, if you have limited income and resources, your state may help you pay for Part A and Part B. If you still need to terminate your Medicare Part B benefits, you must contact your local Social Security office. Our policy requires a personal interview be conducted with everyone who wants to terminate their Medicare Part B benefits, to be sure that you fully understand the consequences of doing so. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanks!

  36. Hi, I am currently under Medi-Cal (have been since 2014). I will be turning 65 on July 19th. I will not be eligible for Medicare benefit (in workforce less than 10 yrs) yet, but do I need to register/enroll this year just because I’ll be turning 65? or can I wait until I decide to retire?

    This sentence is a bit confusing to me:
    “If choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B and then decide to do so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B.”

    Any inputs will be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Wendy. Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Generally, to qualify for Medicare, an individual will need 40 credits, or at least 10 years of work where Social Security taxes were deducted from their income. Anyone aged 65 or older who does not have 40 credits and therefore not insured, will have to pay premiums for both Medicare Part A & B. Individual can also qualify for Medicare on their spouse’s record if the spouse is insured, and age 62 or older. The California Medical Assistance Program or “MediCal” is California’s Medicaid program, serving low-income individuals. In some cases individuals can get help from their state to pay for Medicare related services. We suggest that you contact your local Medicaid office to inquiry about any Medicare savings program in your area.

  37. Great Info: 12 Years too late for us.
    Dropped /refused part B 10 years ago.
    Never received this personal briefing or completed CMS-1763.
    Now I’m doomed unless some action is taken to correct the ever increasing punitive nature of the Late Enrollment penalty . Even when The “No-Harm-Done” rule applies as in 2016, we who have been paying the penalty for the past few years suffered a reduction in our Social Security Benefit.

  38. I turned 65 in June. I am still working and do not receive Social Security. I did not apply for Medicare, because my wife and I receive health care benefits from my employer. My wife does not work and does receive Social Security. She turns 65 in August. Today we received a letter from the SSA Northeastern Program Service Center that they are starting Medicare Part A and Part B in August 2016 for my wife and starting this month they will deduct a monthly premium of $121.80 for the Part B. She is covered by my health insurance. I pay a substantial amount from each paycheck for this insurance for both of us. Why is SSA doing this? How do we stop this deduction?

    • Hello Jeffry. Thanks for your question. When individuals are already receiving Social Security benefits when they reach age 65, we automatically enroll them into Medicare and mail them a Medicare card. If your wife wants to refuse coverage, she should follow the instructions on the Medicare card and return it in the enclosed envelope before the effective date.
      Individuals with coverage under a group health plan from their own or a spouse’s current employment have a special enrollment period. During this “special enrollment period”, they can enroll in Medicare Part B. This means that they may delay enrolling in Medicare Part B without having to wait for a general enrollment period and paying the 10 percent premium surcharge for late enrollment. For more information, click here.
      If your wife needs additional assistance, we recommend that she call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 AM and 7 PM and ask a representative to assist you, or she can contact your local office.

  39. I Have a Question.
    Because I had what I thought was creditable Insurance, I went ten years with before signing up for Part B. Hence, I was slapped with a 100% penalty. In 2016, a year with out cola i was covered by The “No-Harm-Done ” Rule. But My Life long penalty of 100% went up to 116%.
    Is this Legal?

    • Thanks for your question, Jesse. The “hold harmless” provision protects most beneficiaries from a reduction in their monthly benefit, because of an increase in the Medicare Part B premium.
      Generally, we increase a beneficiary’s premium for Part B by 10 percent for each full 12 months in which he or she could have been, but was not, enrolled in the program.
      Due to the complexity of your situation, we recommend that you contact your local office or you can call our toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (1-800-325-0778, if deaf or hard-of-hearing) for assistance.

  40. My wife turned 65 in April and applied for Parts A and B in July, i.e. in the final month of her IEP. Now we understand that a decision may not be issued for several weeks. Would she be liable for a late enrollment penalty even though the application itself was submitted in time?

  41. I’ve just applied for Medicare today 9-7-2016 when will I be in the program? When am I covered by Medicare, because I want to drop the horrible and expensive policy I have through ACA (Obama Care)? My birthdate is 10-15-1951.

    • Hello Bill. Your Medicare coverage will begin the first day of the month you turn 65. In your case, your coverage will begin on November 1, 2016. Thanks for asking!

  42. I just turned 65. I did not sign up 3 months prior because of being confused. I am still working but want to sign up for part A now. please help. thanks

    • Hi Janet. If you are 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly cash benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up for Medicare ONLY and apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later.

  43. I am 67 (still employed and covered by a health plan of an employer with more than 50 employees) and have signed up for Medicare which makes me no longer illegible to fund my HSA. I recently see that currently you may decline the Medicare coverage and continue to fund an HSA until retiring. Am I able to decline medicare now and be able to fund my HSA and rejoin medicare later without penalty???

    • Thank you for your question Terry. Generally, if you or your spouse are still working and are covered under a group health plan based on that employment, you don’t need Medicare part B until you stop working or drop your health care coverage. However, we always suggest that individuals speak to their personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan representative to see what’s best for them, and to prevent any penalties or delayed enrollment in the future. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit http://www.Medicare.gov. For specific questions about your case, call 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you, or you can contact your local office directly. Hope this helps!

  44. I was deemed disabled because of my COPD in Nov of 2014. I have not rec’d any information re: my Medicare. Since I have to have coverage And insurance I need to know who to contact. I am on the phone at this time and have been waiting for 40 minutes as I type this,,,,HELP!!!!!!!!

  45. I am turning 65 at the end of this year (2016). I am still employed full time and receiving health care coverage. I also have an HSA. It’s my understanding the HSA will have to be absolved if I enroll in Medicare. What are my options….do I have any and can I wait to enroll in Medicare when I retire? Will I be penalized if I do not enroll in Medicare now during my enrollment period?
    Thank you

    • Hi Leslie. If you are actively working and covered under your employer’s group health insurance program, you can delay enrollment into Medicare Part B until you stop working or the health coverage is dropped. However, we suggest that individuals speak to their health benefits advisor, or health plan representative to see what’s best for them, and to prevent any penalties or delayed enrollment in the future. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit http://www.Medicare.gov. For specific questions about your case, call 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you, or you can contact your local office directly. Also, if you are 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly cash benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up for Medicare ONLY (Part A) and apply for your retirement benefits later. We hope this helps!

  46. In order to take part in employer offered (Health Savings Account) HSA, do I need to terminate my Medicare PART A (Hospital Insurance).

    • We suggest that you speak with the employer’s health benefits advisor, or health plan representative about this matter. Please visit the Medicare website to learn about other programs available outside of the traditional Medicare program.

      • Can you tell me if the “hold harmless” provision regarding Medicare Part B premiums will apply to me? I’m a CSRS annuitant who will be 65 next year. I will not be insured for SSA at that time, but am working toward insured status. The SS check will be the minimum, so it won’t cover the entire Part B premium. Thank you!

  47. I find it appalling that the 2 most important items that aging people face are not even covered by Medicare. The two are hearing and dental. I feel for people that don’t have the extra coverage to take care of these.

  48. Can you tell me if the “hold harmless” provision regarding Medicare Part B premiums will apply to me? I’m a CSRS annuitant who will be 65 next year. I will not be insured for SSA at that time, but am working toward insured status. The SS check will be the minimum, so it won’t cover the entire Part B premium. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your question Amanda. The “hold harmless” provision protects approximately 70 percent of Social Security beneficiaries from paying a higher Part B premium, in order to avoid reducing their net Social Security benefit. Generally, the “hold harmless” provision does not apply to federal retirees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) who do not receive Social Security (or do not receive large enough Social Security payments to pay Part B premiums from their Social Security checks). This group also includes state government retirees not covered fully by Social Security. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.

  49. My wife is 71 years old and is a 2-year Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) by virtue of our marriage in June 2015. She came to the USA on a Fiancee visa. She is not eligible for Medicare. I was able to get her included in my CalPERS-sponsored group health plan as my dependent soon after our marriage in 2015 and also 2016. Unfortunately my former employer cancelled its contract with CalPERS, so I had to switch to another group plan sponsored by my employer, the City of Upland. During the open enrolment, I was informed that my wife must enroll in Medicare Parts A & B to qualify for the lower, more affordable heath insurance premium. With CalPERS, I was paying $841 per month for a KP-HMO; under the new group I am being billed $1,581.44. To qualify for the lower rate, I was told she must enroll in Medicare Part A and B.

    How do I go about enrolling or buying Part A an B from Medicare. I was told I have until March 31, 2017 to enroll. Does the penalty provisions for late enrolment apply in her situation, since she did not work nor had gainful employment in the US?

    • Thank you for contacting us Steve. Individuals have a chance to sign up for Medicare benefits during a “general enrollment period” from January 1 through March 31. An eligible (non-U.S. citizen) spouse must meet the following requirement:
      • He or she must have resided in the U.S. for 5 or more years, and
      • He or she must have been in a spousal relationship with the person on whose earnings record the entitlement is based for 5 or more years.
      We recommend that you continue working with your local Social Security office for specifics in your situation. We also suggest that you share the information we provide you with your personnel office, check with your health benefits advisor, or health plan representative for more guidance and information about this matter.

  50. My 65th . birthday is in sept why am I being put on social security on April 1. I also get ma health standard now I have to pay. $134 a month for insurance. I am currently disabled.

  51. Your telephone answering recording (lady); initially says: “All of our telephone reps., are “currently” assisting other people…(or similar). Well, I must advise you, same as 80-90% of other companies/agencies etc. using same phrasing.The word currently is REDUNDANT. (E.g. Unnecessary) same as current; as both are, 98% of the time when used our language. (Try it, & see) More e.g.) “The current temperature is..” (Wrong!) “The temperature is.” “I am currently working at…” (Wrong!) There are thousands more. Challenge, try to come up with a correct use of that word. I just did to give U one, & cud not. Ha! Respectfully.

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