Enrolling in Medicare at age 65
Q: Does Social Security contact people at age 65 to enroll them in Medicare?
A: Some people are automatically contacted at age 65, but not everyone is.
If already receiving monthly Social Security benefits, you are mailed Medicare enrollment information several months before reaching age 65. It is important to note that the Social Security Administration does not send this enrollment material. The material is mailed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that is responsible for Medicare. Do not throw it away as junk mail.
In summary, the CMS Medicare mailing includes your Medicare card and tells you that enrollment in both Part A (Hospital) and Part B (Medical) of Medicare will take place at age 65 without any further action needed. If you do not want both Part A and Part B, you must contact Social Security.
Automatic enrollment in Medicare does not occur if you are not already receiving monthly Social Security benefits at age 65. Then you must take action yourself to enroll in Medicare, either by completing the online application or by contacting Social Security. Do this about three months before reaching age 65. You can sign up for Medicare without starting Social Security benefits.
Medicare Part A does not have a monthly premium for most people and nearly everyone enrolls in it at age 65. Medicare Part B does have a monthly premium.
If you have medical insurance through your own current employment, or the current employment of your spouse, then you might not want Part B at age 65.
Medicare Part A and Part B coverage is the same for everyone across the nation. General Medicare information and the online application are on the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/. Detailed Medicare information is at www.medicare.gov. Enrollment in Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) is through private insurance companies, not through CMS or Social Security. Different policies are available and you shop for the one that best suits you.
Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at email@example.com. Read his online articles at http://socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com/