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When and How to Apply for Medicare

Medicare Made Easy

When and How to Apply for Medicare

Applying for Medicare

There are multiple times when you can enroll in Medicare, and each of those times has certain rules around applying and when your coverage will begin. Understanding when you can enroll and the best time to do so is a necessary part of getting complete coverage.

You can sign up for Medicare during the following times:

  • Initial Enrollment Period: This is the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. Medicare Part A for most people is generally, free. If you’ve not had at least ten years of work history within the US, then Medicare Part A may not be free. Inpatient hospital stays are one of the aspects of healthcare covered under Part A, others are stays in Skilled Nursing Facilities, hospice, lab tests, and home health care. Remember, Part A does NOT cover Long Term Care.
  • General Enrollment Period: This is a 7-month period that runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
  • Special Enrollment Periods: If you have a qualifying event, you may be able to sign up for Medicare outside of your Initial Enrollment Period or General Enrollment Period. Qualifying events include:
    • Moving out of your service area
    • Losing your job-based health insurance
    • Getting married or divorced
    • Gaining or losing a disability
    • Turning 26 and losing your parent’s health insurance

Retirement or Loss of Employer Coverage

Many folks entering retirement will have several decisions to make concerning the continuation of their health benefits. Some employers offer retiree coverage, which extends past age 65. While others may offer retiree coverage that ends at age 65. If this is the case, in which you are losing employer medical coverage, several terms apply.
  1. You have a window in which you can enroll in Medicare benefits, without receiving a late enrollment penalty.
  2. Once you have enrolled in Medicare, you have another window of opportunity to have a Medicare supplement policy issued with no medical underwriting.
  3. Explore the complexities of your unique situation with a complimentary Ashford Insurance consultation today.

You can sign up for Medicare online, by phone, or in person

To sign up online, you will need to create an account at www.socialsecurity.gov. There is a button on the home page that says, “Apply for Medicare”. You’ll select this and the link will take you to the correct landing page on the Social Security Administration’s website. Don’t worry, this application is not beginning your SSA benefit check, it is simply allowing you to submit an application for Parts A and B.

If you’re over the age of 65 and have had employer coverage, you’ll also want to mail in the form CMS-L564, which will serve as proof of your creditable coverage. (Note: You’ll need to have your Human Resources director fill out and sign part of the form.) You can mail this Employer Information Form to your local SSA office after you’ve applied for Part A and B online.

To sign up by phone, you can call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). 

If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.

To sign up in person Contact your local Social Security office.

About 2 weeks after you sign up, we’ll mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card.

Need Help Applying? Give Us a Call.

If you want to know more about applying for and enrolling in Medicare, our team can be of service. Just give Ashford Insurance a call to schedule a free quote and consultation.