Enroll for Medicare Part B: Step By Step Guide
Medicare Part B is a hospital insurance that can be used to cover doctor’s services that are not covered by Medicare Part A. Part B also covers some routine doctor’s visits, screenings, and preventive services.
There is a monthly premium for Part B that is $96.40 for those meeting certain income requirements. Individuals and couples whose income exceeds the limits will have to pay a higher premium for Part B coverage.
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Some people will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Those who receive benefits from Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board will be enrolled on the first day of the month they turn 65.
Those who are under 65 and disabled will be enrolled on the first day of the 25th month after receiving certain disability benefits.
Those who had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) will be enrolled the same month that their disability benefits begin.
If you are automatically enrolled in Part B, you will receive your card in the mail three months before your benefits are scheduled to begin (except for those with ALS). You do not have to accept Part B. Your card comes with instructions for rejecting coverage. Simply follow them and send the card back if you do not wish to receive Part B coverage. You will pay Part B premiums as long as you keep the card.
Those who are not automatically enrolled in Part B can sign up during their initial Medicare enrollment period which begins three months before their 65th birthday and ends three months after the 65th birthday.
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There are other times available if, for some reason, you miss your initial enrollment period.
The general enrollment period is between January 1 and March 31 each year. If you sign up for Part B during the general enrollment period, your coverage will begin on July 1.
The special enrollment period is for those who waited to sign up for Part B because they were covered under an employer’s group health plan. If this applies to you, you are able to sign up for Part B anytime you are currently employed and have group health coverage. Or, you can sign up for up to eight months after coverage ends.
The special enrollment period for volunteers is intended for those who waited to sign up for Part B because they were volunteering in a foreign country and waited to enroll in Part B. You’re able to sign up for Part B up to six months after you are no longer volunteering outside of the U.S.
If you don’t sign up for Part B when you first become eligible for it, you face a 10% penalty that will be added to your premiums for that 12-year period.
To enroll in Part B, you should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. Or, if you receive Railroad Benefits, contact your local Retired Railroad Board office by calling 1-877-772-5772. You can find out if you are eligible to enroll by visiting the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov and selecting the “Find Out if You Are Eligible for Medicare” option.