When, Where, Why, and How to Sign Up for Medicare Part B
I am the Medicare NINJA!
Statistics suggest that during the 7 month “initial enrollment period” into Medicare (in which you are entering), the average medicare beneficiary receives on average more than 138 pieces of mail and more than 100 telephone marketing calls regarding Medicare. Sadly, in the end I kind of think that people end up more confused than ever by all the mail and all the calls.
Every insurer & agent is going to want to have you as a client of course. This is why so many will be mailing and calling you in the next few months.
What you need is a Medicare NINJA! that will guide you through the Medicare process. That is where I come in.
I am Michael Todd Oldfield; a licensed, appointed, and certified insurance broker in the state of Kentucky, living in Lexington, covering every corner of our beautiful state, and as a broker, I represent ALL the major insurers and thereby am able remain impartial to any.
I am also an educator. My real joy comes from teaching Medicare to new Medicare beneficiaries. I can make the whole thing a whole lot less scary.
I am the Medicare NINJA!
Over the coming weeks, you may receive five postcards from me. Each card contains a very important tip or suggestion that I think will make Medicare enrollment a little easier a process.
I encourage you to save each of these cards. If you do, I will reward you later on.
- Each card is going to have very important tips, suggestions, and information about Medicare and your rights and responsibilities in the system.
- Each card is going to have links to additional information on www.medicare.gov; (Medicare’s own website) that corresponds to the tips I offer. This way you can look up the information on your own, should you wish to.
- And lastly, each card is going to have links to additional, relevant information on www.toddoldfield.com (this very website) for you to consider as well.
At any time should you wish it, I am happy to come see you, take some time and teach your personally. In that “time well spent” appointment, I will teach you all you need to know about Medicare and get you set up completely and correctly.
That is what being a Medicare NINJA! is all about. Let’s get going.
Tip 1 – When, Where, Why to Sign Up for Medicare Parts A&B
There are plenty of information resources available for the “turning 65” population. Probably the two best sources of information on Medicare include the www.medicare.gov website and the “Medicare & You” Directory which is mailed to you each year.
MEDICARE.GOV & “MEDICARE & YOU” HANDBOOK
Over the next few weeks, you will find me referencing www.medicare.gov which is the web- based version of the “Medicare & You” handbook and the governments own Medicare website. This is the best source of information on Medicare because it is ALWAYS the most up to date. It’s live information.
“Medicare & You” is the paper version you will receive each year as a notification as to how Medicare works and it’s changes. It’s roughly 140 pages and I am pretty sure no one ever reads the thing. Which is partially why I created this program. I know what you need to know. Now I just have to help you know it.
As I discuss each item, I will include www.medicare.gov links to the discussed material below, and page numbers (eg. “PG 122”) on where you can find the information in the “Medicare & You” handbook.
Save these five cards for a special gift when we meet later on. At any point, if you feel like you need help, please feel to call me at 859.654.0120 extension 1000.
WHEN TO ENROLL IN MEDICARE PARTS A & B – (Pg 21-28)
Most citizens share the same 7-month enrollment period that begins three (3) months prior to their birth month when they turn 65 and lasts through three full months following that same birth month. This is your “Initial Enrollment Period” or IEP.
It’s during this period that you have several important decisions to make. Some are irreversible so be careful.
- Find out if you will automatically be enrolled in Part A and Part B by calling 1.800.633.4227 (“1-800-MEDICARE”)
- Most people are already automatically enrolled in Part A. It’s the part that you more than likely paid for all your life with your payroll taxes from your job. Remember? So, Part A is almost a no-brainer.
- Part B however is optional. Will you continue to work and have coverage at your work? If you are “actively” working and maintain insurance coverage at work, you can defer your Part B until later. WARNING. This can be tricky and a pain in the butt. If you wait until later you will have to be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B during the year, or else you will have to wait for Medicare Open Enrollment which runs January 1 – March 31 each year, providing you with a July 1 effective date for Part B. BE CAREFUL if you intend to defer. You may cause yourself penalties if you do not enroll in Part B when you become eligible.
- So, decide if you want Part A or A & B.
- You need to also decide on a Part D Drug plan when you become eligible for Part A and/or have Part B. Again, BE CAREFUL. Not signing up for a Part D Drug plan may cause you a late enrollment penalty.
WHERE TO SIGN UP FOR MEDICARE
If you need to manually sign up for Medicare you can do it either by phone, calling 1.800.633.4227 (“1-800-MEDICARE), or going to www.medicare.gov or walk in to your local Social Security office.
WHY TO ENROLL IN A TIMELY FASHION
This is probably one of the most important things for you to know. Many beneficiaries later on in life tell me they wish someone had explained what I am about to tell you to them, when they turned 65.
It’s about the Late Enrollment Penalties charged for not signing up for Parts B & D when you were suppose to.
- Late Enrollment Penalty for Not Enrolling in Part B – The moment of eligibility for Part A and/or Part B begins a clock. If at the end of 63 days from that point, if you are not signed up for Part B and you have no other “Credible Coverage”, you begin running up a late-enrollment penalty that you will pay for the rest of your life. The penalty each year will be tied to the following equation;
The Monthly Medicare Part B Premium X
(10% for each twelve months that the beneficiary should have had Part B,
but did not enroll) = $X (Part B Late Enrollment Penalty)
- Late Enrollment Penalty for Not Enrolling in Part D – The moment of eligibility for Part A and/or Part B begins a clock. If at the end of 63 days from that point, if you are not signed up for a Part D Drug plan and have no other “credible” prescription coverage, you will begin running up a late-enrollment penalty that you will pay for the rest of your life. The penalty will be tied to the following calculation;
The average Monthly Medicare Part D Premium X
(a total of 1% per month for each month you did not have a Part D Drug Plan,
but did not enroll) = $X (Part D Late Enrollment Penalty for a Certain Year)
I do not mean to scare you, so do not be scared. On the other hand, do not enroll in Medicare Part B or D late.
SUMMARY OF TIP 1
Make sure you are enrolled in Medicare Parts “A” and “B” well in advance of your “Initial Enrollment Period”. If you chose not to enroll in part “B”, make sure you have insurance through some credible source, and if that is your work, that you are “actively” working in that job, not retired.
If not, you may be subject later on to a “Late Enrollment Penalty”.
- Getting Started with Medicare
- Getting Medicare if You Have a Disability –
- The Part B Late Enrollment Penalty
- The Part D Late Enrollment Penalty
Additional Resources Right Here
Need more help, call me now at 859.654.0120 extension 1000