What’s a person to do? You need to apply for Medicare but because of COVID-19, the Social Security offices are closed. If you were born in the US and turning 65, no problem…see below for online instructions. But if you fit into one of these categories, you have extra work to do and you need to do it quickly:
- You’re over 65
- You’ve been laid off or decided to retire and lost (or losing) your employer group plan
- You’re turning 65 and was born outside the US
Normally, you waltz into the Social Security office with your forms and they take care of everything, right? Well, not during the COVID-19 ‘Safer at Home’ order. The Social Security offices are CLOSED…yikes! No need to panic yet…we’ve got your back and will help to make this a relatively easy process and bring you a bit of peace during this crazy CoronaVirus time!
Listen to Debbie’s tips to make sure you’re Part B will be in place for when you need it!
How do you apply for Medicare when you turn 65?
If you were born in the US, it’s actually pretty easy to apply online. If you haven’t already, register for an account through an account with Social Security (click to register). If you already have a Social Security account, make sure your user name and password work. You’ll need those when you apply for Medicare. You can apply 3 months before your birth month.
But what if you’re still working, have insurance through work and don’t need Medicare yet?
In that case, you may just want to apply for Part A (for most people, $0 premium) and delay Part B (premium depending on your income). There are reasons you may want to apply for both Part A & Part B though:
- Your employer plan isn’t that good and/or you have to pay a lot of moolah for the plan
- The employer you work for has UNDER 20 employees (you must enroll in both Part A & Part B)
How to apply for Medicare when you’re over 65, coming off an employer insurance plan or you were born outside the US?
If you’ve worked past 65 and now decided to retire (or even if it wasn’t your decision), or you were born outside the US, your process is a little tricker because you have to get some documents to the Social Security Administration. The easiest thing to do is call us and we’ll guide you. But if you’d like to start the process, we’ve had several people that have received their Part A and Part B during COVID-19 stay-in-place orders by following our guidance.
If you worked past 65 and now need your Medicare in place, there are two forms you will need. Click on the following links to be taken to the most recent form from the CMS.
- Part B Application – you will complete this form
- Request for Employer Info – Employer normally needs to complete Section B however CMS has waived (search for Section B) this requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic since many HR people are not accessible.
- Submit proof of employment, Group Health Plan (GHP), or Large Group Health Plan (LGHP). A copy of your ID card would work.
In a normal time (when you can walk into the Social Security office), we ask for 6 weeks lead time but since the mail is involved, you’ll want at least 2 months now that you have to go through the mail.
For those born outside the US, the Social Security Administration usually needs you to provide additional documentation (Naturalization Certificate, Birth Certificate, etc.) which is why you should call them first to find out exactly which documents they will need.
- Complete the Part B Application and Request for Employer Info.
- Call Social Security 800.772.1213. We suggest calling as early as possible (7am) and be prepared to hold for a while. Some good news, we’ve heard reports that they’re actually answering the phone quicker right now :).
- Let them know you need to apply for your Part B and the date you will need it to begin.
- VERY IMPORTANT: For everyone you speak to, record their name, the date, time, badge #, employee ID #, direct phone #, their ATM PIN #…ANYTHING they will give you.
- They are requesting you mail it to your local Social Security office however, if they will give you a name, that would be preferable. We’ve only had one client having success obtaining a name :/
- Make copies of the documents for your records.
- Include a cover sheet explaining which Part B effective date you want (they always backdate the Part A 6 months).
- Put stickie notes all over everything to make sure they understand your request. Print really large, ‘COVID19 PRIORITY INPUT NEEDED! You can’t have enough stickie notes!
- Mail the originals via ‘Priority Mail’ or another service that allows you to obtain a signed receipt. Hold on to that receipt!
- Put a follow-up on your calendar for 2 – 3 weeks from the date you mailed it. If you haven’t received a confirmation in the mail, call them back.
Yes, it’s more work than normal but it can be done! Once you get your confirmation/Medicare ID card, just give us a call and we’ll help you with your Supplemental plans. Remember, you won’t pay anymore for our services than if you go directly to the carriers yourself. Check us out!