Should I Enroll in Medicare When Turning 65?
I am turning 64 soon and have not started receiving my Social Security check. I am still working full time but do not have company benefits. I am confused because I do not have Social Security and not sure how to get my Medicare. Do I call Medicare to enroll? Can you please explain the introductory steps for Baby Boomers who are approaching the time to apply for Medicare when turning 65?
John from Rosenberg, TX
Hi There, John,
Enrolling in Medicare is very confusing! Most people think that when they turn 65, a magical switch turns on, and poof, you are on Medicare! Medicare changed the rules during the Clinton administration when Social Security extended the time for receiving 100% of your Social Security benefits. Social Security does the paperwork for Medicare.
Steps to Enrolling in Medicare
Turning 65 and Receiving Your Social Security Check
- You should receive your “Welcome to Medicare” Kit with your Medicare card 90 days prior to turning 65 with Medicare Part A and B.
- Receiving your Social Security check before turning 65 is the easiest, stress-free way to enroll in Medicare if you are not working full-time with employer benefits or covered by your spouse’s employer benefits when turning 65.
Turning 65 and NOT Receiving Your Social Security Check
- You will not automatically receive your “Welcome to Medicare” kit when turning 65 with your Medicare card.
- You must enroll in Medicare Parts “A, B, and D” to keep from receiving a “late enrollment penalty (LEP).
- You must enroll in Medicare online at www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare up to 90 days prior to turning 65 for your Medicare Parts A and B to begin the 1st day of the month you turn 65. Go to Medicare.gov to enroll in your Medicare Part D plan.
- Do not wait until right before you turn 65 to enroll in Medicare because it will take time to receive your Medicare card before the 1st day of the month you turn 65.
Turning 65 and Still Working Full-Time
Do you have Individual Health Insurance?
- Working full-time or contract labor employees with individual health insurance should enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, and D when turning 65 to avoid a Medicare Part B and D penalty.
- Medicare does not recognize individual health plans as “creditable coverage.”
Related: What Is Long-Term Care?
Do you have Qualified Employer benefits and Working Full-Time?
- Medicare allows you to delay your Medicare Parts A and/or B if you or your spouse are working full-time with employer benefits, not retirement benefits, and you are covered by that specific employer benefits.
- “Is still working” are Medicare’s buzz words for delaying your Medicare Part B.
- To enroll in Medicare after 65 and having delayed Medicare Part B due to working full-time with employer benefits, complete Social Security forms CMS-L564 “Request for Employment Information” (signed by the employer or HR) and CMS-40B “Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B.” Under “Remarks #12,” state which month you want your Medicare Part B to start. Take your forms to your specific Social Security office either in person, by fax, or by priority mail to enroll in Medicare Part B. Remember to write the words “Special Enrollment Period” across the top of each form to keep from receiving the famous Medicare Part B penalty.
Toni Says: Always make copies of every document given to the Social Security office or received from the Social Security office.
Toni KingContributing Writer
Toni King is an author, columnist, and radio and TV personality who specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning. While conducting a Medicare workshop in 2009, Toni was approached by a member of the audience who had received incorrect information about his Medicare Part B enrollment from Social Security. After taking a couple of days to help the gentleman straighten out his overwhelming problem, Toni’s new mission had become clear. Following more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the Medicare insurance industry, Toni would become an advocate for Americans receiving Medicare. Since then, Toni has devoted her life and career to putting Medicare into “people terms” with the help of her books, consultations, workshops, and website, ToniSays.com. Read more from Toni King.