Help! When Should I Sign Up for Medicare?
Updated: Sep 15
This is easily one of the most common questions about Medicare and I am glad you asked!
Unfortunately, there is not always a straight answer and your answer will depend on your specific circumstances. Continue reading the most common scenarios to find out which applies to you.
I'm turning 65 soon and I'm already receiving monthly social security benefits.
That's great! I'm glad you are planning ahead.
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, generally you won't
need to do anything at all. In most cases, Medicare will send you a Medicare card to
the address on file three months before your birthday month. This card should
include your Medicare number, your name, your Medicare Part A effective date and
your Medicare Part B effective date.
I'm turning 65 soon and I am not already receiving monthly Social Security benefits.
If you are not already receiving Social Security payments, then you will need to
apply for Medicare. Most people apply online at
https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/ . The process usually takes about 15 - 30
minutes and if everything is correct, you should expect your Medicare card in the
mail in about 2 - 3 weeks.
For those who cannot apply online or prefer to apply in person or over the phone,
you may call 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office. You are also
welcome to call our office and we would be happy to assist you in person.
Great! Now I know when to apply, but what if I plan to continue working and want to keep my employer's health insurance benefits?
That is another great question and there are several things to think about if you are
continuing to work after your 65th birthday. I'm going to tackle that next week!
Either read the next post or give us a call at (360) 400-0530 or send us an email at
I have been receiving Social Security Disability benefits for awhile. When will my Medicare benefits begin?
The general rule of thumb is that your Medicare benefits begin the first of the 25th
month of your Social Security benefits.
Medicare will automatically send you a Medicare card about two to three months
before your effective date.
Keep in mind, that if your disability was awarded retro-actively, then your 25th
month may come sooner than you think!
I was just diagnosed with kidney failure (End Stage Renal Disease/ESRD) and need dialysis. I've been told that I should get Medicare.
Your situation may certainly be unique, but I do recommend that most people apply
for Medicare benefits if they are eligible. Some people may be able to continue
working while on dialysis and want to continue their employer benefits. Some also
prefer to have Medicare to help with those costs. And as you may know, some are
not able to continue working.
I do recommend that you have an open conversation with a benefits coordinator at
your dialysis center. Most are trained to talk to you about how your
specific dialysis methods, appointments, supplies and medications would be
covered by the different types of plans available to you.
Beginning January 1st, 2020, ESRD patients will have many new plans available that
were previously off-limits for most. We can certainly help you decide if any of those
would benefit you.