Our plans provide everything that Original Medicare covers, plus additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, vision and hearing checkups, and routine dental care. To see if you're eligible for Original Medicare, read through the information below. You can also visit the Social Security Frequently Asked Questions page.
Do I Have to Enroll in Medicare?
After years of paying into Medicare, it's a big milestone when you finally qualify to sign up. For some, it's a huge relief, and for others who aren't quite ready for Medicare, it's important to know your options.
While you are not required to enroll in Medicare, there are late enrollment penalties-Part B can have a 10% penalty and Part D can have a 1% of the national base premium penalty. These penalties may apply if you choose not to enroll when initially eligible and may also apply if you choose to enroll at a later date.
There are times when enrollment is not required (e.g., full-time employee and covered by a group plan that doesn't require Medicare enrollment). You might also qualify to delay your insurance if you work for a company or organization that employs 20 or more people.
When Can I Enroll?
You might not be ready yet, but you should plan to apply for Medicare Parts A and B (if eligible) if you aren't getting Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or benefits through another retirement fund.
Sign up early to avoid a delay in coverage. To get Part A and/or Part B the month you turn 65, you must sign up during the first three months before the month you turn 65.
You can apply during any of the seven months that make up what's called the Initial Enrollment Period. This includes the three months before your birth month, the month of your birthday, and the three months after your birth month.
If you apply at any time during the three months before your birth month, you'll be covered by Original Medicare on the day you turn 65. Otherwise, you'll have to wait another month—or more.
If you wait until the last three months of your Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B, your coverage will be delayed.
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Can I Apply for Medicare If I Lost My Job?
If you recently lost your full-time job and are no longer covered by a group health insurance plan, you can still apply for a Medicare plan. You should apply for Medicare Part A and Part B first, and you can then choose to separately enroll in a Part D prescription medication plan or Medicare supplemental policy. Or, you can select a Medicare Advantage plan that includes medication coverage, instead. Learn more about the types of plans we offer.
Your timeline for applying for Medicare coverage depends on your age:
- If you’re already over age 65 and three months, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which lasts until eight months after you lost your health coverage due to unemployment
- If you’re within the three months before or after the month in which you turn 65, you qualify for the typical seven-month Initial Enrollment Period.
To begin the Medicare application process, contact your local Social Security office to find out which forms and documents you need. Most Social Security offices are closed to the public at this time. However, staff may be available to help you virtually, or in-person if you call in advance to make an appointment to get help filing a Medicare application related to work status.
If you have any questions or need more information, call one of our Medicare experts at 1-800-678-2265 (TTY: 711) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, April 1 through September 30, or seven days a week, October 1 through March 31. You can also Request A Call from one of our team members at a day and time that works best for you.