You have the option to sign up for Medicare when you turn age 65. If you don’t have access to an employer group health plan, you will want to sign up for Medicare during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period. Your Initial Enrollment Period is a seven-month period. It includes the three months before your birth month, your birth month, and the three months after your birth month.
If you apply for Medicare during the three months before your birth month, your Medicare will become effective on the first of your birth month. If you sign up during the remaining four months of your Initial Enrollment Period, your Medicare will start the first of the following month.
However, you don’t need to enroll in Medicare Part A (Inpatient Hospital) or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) when you turn age 65 if you are still working and have health insurance coverage based on your or your spouse’s active employment, and the employer has more than 20 employees. Generally, in this situation, you are entitled to a Special Enrollment Period when your employment or insurance ends, whichever happens first. During your Special Enrollment Period, you have eight months to enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Most people, apply for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B a few months before their employer coverage ends so Medicare is effective when their employer coverage ends. There is no gap in their health insurance coverage.
When you turn age 65 and have your health insurance coverage through your own active employment, it may be unwise to enroll in Medicare Part A if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) and plan to continue making contributions to your HSA and continue under your Employer Group Coverage. You are not allowed to make contributions to your HSA if you are enrolled in Medicare Part A. Additionally, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part A when you turn 65, Social Security will backdate your Medicare Part A effective date six months from when you apply for it. You need to make any Health Savings Account contributions before your Medicare Part A effective date.
If you are drawing Social Security benefits, you will be automatically signed up for Medicare Part A. You can’t draw Social Security benefits without enrolling in Medicare Part A. And, if you have Medicare Part A, you can’t contribute to a Health Savings Account. Therefore, if you are drawing Social Security benefits, you cannot make contributions to a Health Savings Account.
Signing Up for Medicare
To sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period, you are required to enroll through the Social Security Administration website, www.ssa.gov, unless you are already drawing Social Security benefits. If you are already drawing Social Security benefits, you will be enrolled automatically in Medicare Parts A and B. You will also receive a Red, White and Blue Medicare Card. You have the option to defer enrolling in Medicare Part B, but you must have Medicare Part A if you are drawing Social Security benefits. This has an impact on HSA contributions as discussed above.
Once you sign up for Medicare Parts A & B, you have two choices on how to receive your Medicare. Click on the links below: