Medicare Part B is the part of Medicare that covers doctor’s and outpatient services. It is also the “optional” part of Medicare that does have some premium associated with it. For 2012, that premium is $99.90/month, unless you are in a special income-related category.
When you turn 65, Medicare automatically enrolls in you in Medicare Part A. There is no premium for this part of Medicare. It always starts the first day of the month you turn 65. If you are already receiving Social Security, Medicare will also enroll you in Part B to start the same date -the first day of the month during which you turn 65. (NOTE: If your birthday is the 1st day of a month, your Medicare will actually start the first day of the preceding month.)
In this case, you are already receiving Social Security, you do NOT have to do anything to get Part B. When you receive your Medicare card/information from them, usually about 2-3 months before Medicare will start, you will receive a card reflecting that you are enrolled in Part A and B. There will be instructions in that packet to decline Part B, but if they do not hear from you, you are automatically enrolled in A and B.
Most importantly, though, what if you are NOT receiving Social Security already? How do you sign up for Medicare Part B in that case?
Many people work past age 65 or defer taking Social Security, in increasing numbers. In this case, you must notify Social Security/Medicare, when you wish to sign up for Part B. You must know when your other coverage (usually, employer-based coverage) is going to end so you can set that as a start date for Medicare Part B. It is best to apply for Part B at least two months in advance of when you need it to start. If you are losing/leaving employer coverage, you can do this any time of year, as long as the start date for Part B coincides with the stop date of your previous coverage. The time periods for signing up for Part B are significantly more restrictive (have to be 1/1 or 7/1) if you are not in one of these special circumstances (i.e. losing employer coverage).
To sign up for Part B:
- One option is to go to a local Social Security office. This is probably the most time-consuming of the ways to sign up but may be the most efficient, as far as having your questions answered.
- Another option is to sign up online at the Social Security website: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly/
- Lastly, you can call Social Security at 800.772.1213.
If you have any questions about this information or we can help in any way, please let us know. Medicare-Supplement.US is a leading, independent brokerage that works with all of the companies that do Medicare Supplement insurance. To get Medicare Supplement quotes, visit us online or call us at 877.506.3378.