If receiving your Social Security retirement benefits before age 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. The coverage usually begins the month of your 65th birthday and the Part B Medicare premium is withheld from your Social Security benefit payment. Many individuals working past age 65 and still insured through an employer plan choose to opt out of Part B and the premium expense.
However, if you have deferred receiving your Social Security benefits and want to activate your Medicare Part B effective the month of your 65th birthday, or later, enrollment is not automatic and you have to take some steps to activate Part B. News outlets are reporting some processing delays while local Social Security offices are closed due to the coronavirus epidemic. Here are some helpful reminders:
- Turning 65, not receiving Social Security benefits and are ready to enroll in Medicare for the first time? The three months prior to your 65th birthday are within your Initial Enrollment Period and you can simply apply for Medicare Parts A and B online at: Apply Online for Just Medicare. Or,
- Over 65, already have Part A and are now interested in adding Part B? I see this most often with individuals who have set a retirement date and want to activate Medicare Part B to coincide with when the employer coverage ends. Since you are enrolling after age 65, this is known as a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) when the enrollment is completed by paper form and not online:
- You complete Form CMS 40-B and present to your local Social Security office. (You can view and download a copy below)
- To prevent any Medicare Late Enrollment Penalty you will want your employer to provide you with a completed and signed Form CMS-L564 confirming you have had continuous creditable coverage since your 65th birthday. Section A is completed by you and Section B by your employer.
- CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: If it isn’t feasible for your employer to complete Form CMS-L564 Section B you may present alternative documentation showing proof of employer group health coverage such as health insurance cards, receipts showing health insurance premiums paid or explanations of benefits paid by the the employer group health plan.
- CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: While the local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices remain closed, you may fax the completed enrollment forms and supporting documents to SSA toll free at 833-914-2016, or
- CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: If you prefer not to send documents by fax, you may make copies and mail the original documents to your local SSA field office. The local office does pick up and process the mailed in applications even while the office is closed to the public. Click here to add zip code and find the address of your local SSA office.
Once you have received confirmation of your Part B effective date and your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (ID) I can assist with your choice of a Medicare Supplement, Part D prescription drug or Medicare Advantage plan. Call (518) 346-2115 or book your appointment on my calendar.
Sourcelink: Providence Journal Modern Healthcare