As technology expands, so do the ways in which we can utilize it. Today, different forms of technology are available to help with many aspects of life, including Medicare enrollment. Whether you use it every day or avoid it like the plague, the internet is one of the most powerful sources of information available. Thus, utilizing it has become more and more mainstream over the last few decades. Below, we review how to apply for Medicare online.
Applying for Medicare Online
If you’re looking to apply for Medicare online, then you’re in luck. For several years, online Medicare applications have been accepted by the Social Security Administration. To apply for Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) online, you must visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. Original Medicare benefits do not vary by state or person. So, anyone who enrolls in Original Medicare coverage will receive the same benefits. Thus, the process of applying for Medicare online is straightforward.
If you wish to apply for Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D, or a Medicare Supplement plan online, you’ll need to follow a different process that does not include Social Security, as these plans are offered by private insurance companies.
This process often includes shopping around to find the best plan available in your area. You’ll want to look at things like premium cost, out-of-pocket maximums, formularies, and networks, if applicable. Often, when searching for Medicare plans offered by private companies, enrollees tend to work with licensed Medicare agents to help find the right plan for their needs rather than reviewing each plan and carrier individually online.
How to Apply for Medicare Parts A and B Online
Applying for Original Medicare online is a simple process. The Social Security Administration website has one portal where eligible individuals can sign up for Medicare Part A, Part B, or both. To get started, you’ll need to create a My SSA account if you don’t already have one.
Once you have a My SSA account, the process of applying for Medicare online only takes about ten minutes. While applying, you’ll want to keep the following information handy:
- Place of birth (if outside U.S., include your Permanent Resident Card number)
- Your current health insurance plan information (carrier, policy number, effective dates, etc.)
Once you complete the application, you can log back in to check on your application’s status at any time. Depending on when you enroll in Medicare coverage, your application can take up to 90 days to be approved.
If you still have health care coverage through an employer with 20 or more employees, you may wish to delay Medicare Part B benefits. In this case, you can do so without the risk of a penalty because your coverage is credible for Medicare. However, Medicare Part A is premium-free for those who have sufficient tax credits, so enrolling in the coverage when you become eligible is a no-brainer.
When delaying Part B coverage, you’ll also need to fill out form CMS-1763 and mail it to the Social Security field office nearest to you. On this form, you’ll check the box to request the termination of your medical insurance (Part B). If you do not complete this form, you will be billed for Medicare Part B coverage.
If you’re unsure whether the coverage you have now is credible, your local Social Security office will be able to help you determine credibility. Remember, if you delay Medicare Part B without credible coverage, you’ll need to pay a penalty on top of your monthly premium once you enroll.
Apply Online for Medicare Part B During a Special Enrollment Period
If you delay your Medicare Part B enrollment due to credible coverage, you will receive a Special Enrollment Period when you lose credible coverage. A Special Enrollment Period grants you a specific amount of time to enroll in Medicare Part B coverage without having to pay a late enrollment penalty.
To enroll in Medicare Part B online during your Special Enrollment Period, you will need to log into your My SSA account and choose the option to enroll in Medicare Part B. From there, you will receive a new Medicare red, white, and blue card with your new effective date listed.
If you lose credible coverage and do not enroll in Medicare Part B during the allotted amount of time, you will be subject to the late enrollment penalty once you enroll in coverage.
Applying for Medicare Advantage Online
When you have Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), the private insurance company you choose to enroll in pays your benefits instead of Medicare. To enroll in Medicare Advantage, you’ll need to have Medicare Parts A and B before applying.
To enroll in Medicare Advantage online, you’ll need to have your effective date for Original Medicare ready, along with your Medicare number from your red, white, and blue card. You can then start the plan selection and application process online through Medicare.gov. There, you’ll be able to see a list of plans and carriers available in your area and the benefits of each plan. Make sure your plan includes your doctors in its network and medications in its formulary.
When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, be sure to do so during a valid enrollment period. There are certain times throughout the year when you can and cannot enroll in Medicare Advantage coverage.
How Do I Apply for Medicare Part D Online?
Unlike most Medicare Advantage plans, Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. However, this coverage is available through Medicare Part D.
When you have Original Medicare, it is a good idea to shop for a Medicare Part D plan online. This way, you can find the best plan in your area to cover your prescription drugs. Even if you do not take any prescription medications, it is important to enroll in Part D coverage to avoid late enrollment penalties and to be covered in emergency situations.
In many areas, an overwhelming amount of Medicare Part D plans are available, which can be intimidating to the average consumer. When searching for Part D coverage, many choose to work with a licensed agent who can walk them through the online process step by step.
When you apply for Part D coverage, you’ll need your Medicare card handy as the application requires your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) listed on the card.
Applying for Medicare Supplement Online
Original Medicare coverage is not fully comprehensive. So, you may be responsible for out-of-pocket costs when receiving care. If you choose to keep Original Medicare coverage, it is essential to also enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to ensure you receive coverage for some of the out-of-pocket expenses associated with Original Medicare.
To apply for a Medicare Supplement plan, you can search through the options listed on Medicare.gov or work with a licensed agent who can break down each plan option and carrier available in your area.
How to Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B Online
Visit the Social Security Administration website to apply for Medicare online. To get started, click the link for Medicare on the homepage and create a My SSA account.