Do I need to file for Social Security benefits to receive Medicare?
No, you do not need to file for Social Security to receive Medicare. They are entirely separate decisions. You can sign up for Medicare before or after claiming your Social Security benefits. You are eligible for Medicare at age 62. If you begin collecting Social Security prior to “full retirement age” ( 70 years old), you will collect less each month.
Currently, you can enroll in Medicare parts A, and B up to three months prior to the month of your birthday of your 65 year. Your enrollment period window ends three months after your birth month.
Here is a chart for you to use to determine your initial enrollment period for Medicare:
Is There a Penalty for Missing Your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare?
It is particularly important to sign up for Medicare within your initial enrollment period because there is a penalty if you sign up for Medicare late. That penalty goes up the longer you delay. Not only is there a penalty, but this penalty is a permanent additional fee for your Medicare costs.
Please note that if you are currently working there is no penalty.
Your initial enrollment in Part B can be delayed. As long as your employer provided coverage has credible drug coverage. Which means that it covers prescription at the same or higher level that Medicare covers. You will have 63 day window to sign up for a Part D Drug Plan. You can sign up for a drug plan with Part A and being entitled to Part B. Failure to sign up during your 63 days will incur a penalty of 1%. Medicare calculates the penalty by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($33.06 in 2021) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium.
The national base beneficiary premium may change each year, so your penalty amount may also change each year.
What if I am Collecting Social Security at age 65? Am I Automatically Enrolled?
Yes, if you began collecting your Social Security benefits prior to age 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare parts A and B by the Social Security Administration during your initial enrollment period. You can contact the Social Security Administration to learn about your options.
If possible, you should choose to wait until at least age 66 (Social Security full retirement age) to begin collecting Social Security benefits. Therefore, it is important for those not already collecting Social Security to remember that you only have that 7-month period to enroll in Medicare and avoid any penalties.
How to Prepare to Collect Medicare?
When you turn 64, you should contact Lucero Benefits Services to begin learning about your Medicare options. Medicare health plans are offered by private companies, and they are not all created equal. You want to be sure to select the best plan for you and your circumstances. Lucero Benefits Services can help you navigate this new path and get you the benefits you need.
You will need to plan to begin receiving a Medicare bill each month. By enrolling during your initial enrollment period, you can keep this amount penalty-free. Lucero Benefits Services can assist you in keeping the amount affordable to you by finding the best rate for you.