If you’re approaching retirement age, you’velikely had your mind on whether Medicare is something you should consider. But enrolling can seem a little daunting when there’s so much information out there. Here, we’ve simplified a few things to help you get started!
- There are two key parts to Medicare: Medicare Part A, which is Hospital Insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a nursing facility, hospice & home health care. Medicare Part B is your Medical Insurance. This covers certain doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies and some preventative services.
- Some people get Medicare automatically, others must sign up. Generally, the difference between automatic enrolment and self-enrolment depends on whether you are getting certain Social Security benefits. You can find out which you are, here. If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get your Medicare card in the mail either 3 months before your 65th birthday or, in your 25th month of disability.
- If you need to self-enrol, there are certain times you can do it. When you enrol, it is called your Initial Enrolment Period. This is a 7-month period when you need to make sure you have your ducks in a row. Normally, your enrolment period begins 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday, includes the month of your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after the month of your 65th So, for example if your birthday is in September, your Initial Enrolment Period would be from June to December the year you turn 65.
- Once you’ve clarified the above, you can decide to enrol online, on the phone or in-person. To enrol online, go to SocialSecurity.gov, or you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) between the hours of 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday. If you want to apply in-person, you can go directly to your local Social Security Office. If you worked at a railroad, you should enrol in Medicare directly through the Railroad Retirement Board and speak to an RRB representative.