by Vonda Van Til, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
This July marks the 56th anniversary of Medicare. Did you know you can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits? Applying online can take less than 10 minutes. There are no forms to sign and we usually require no additional documentation. We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information.
Knowing when to apply for Medicare is very important. You have a limited initial enrollment period to apply. If you miss the initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium. If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday. Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for Medicare and find other important information.
Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. To qualify for Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Read our publication Understanding the Extra Help With Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for more information at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10508.pdf.
The official Medicare website at Medicare.gov offers many online services where you can find answers to these questions:
- What does Medicare cover?
- Where do I find forms for filing a Medicare appeal?
- How can I let someone speak with Medicare on my behalf?
- What do Medicare health and prescription drug plans in my area cost, and what services do they offer?
- Which doctors, health care providers, and suppliers participate in Medicare?
- Where can I find out more about a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) and enroll?
- Where can I find a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy in my area?
Feel free to share these helpful resources with friends and family today.
Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.