Find Out If You’ll Have To Apply For Medicare Part B

Don’t miss out on enrolling in your Medicare Part B coverage when you’re first eligible, or else you may be paying more in premiums each month. Learn how to apply, and get covered today.
Agnus Smith
Published on
November 7, 2018
Updated on
January 22, 2024

While most Americans are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when they turn 65 years old, the other half of Original Medicare, Part B, is a bit more complicated than that. However, it’s important to get it right since late enrollment could end up costing you. Here we’ll discuss whether or not you’ll have to apply for Medicare Part B, and the best way to go about doing so.

Do I Have To Apply For Medicare Part B?

Those who are automatically enrolled in Medicare will receive their card in the mail. You might get your Medicare card 3 months before your 65th birthday. Or, you might receive your Medicare card during your 25th month of disability.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help people enroll in Medicare. Others will need to sign up for the Medicare programs.

Part B is recommended for those whose employer has fewer than 20 employees. The reason being, certain requirements are only applied to companies with more than 20 employees. In this case, the Part B plan will become your primary insurance. You must apply for Part B within eight months of your last work day.

If you are receiving Social Security benefits due to disability, then you will become eligible for Medicare after two years. You should receive paperwork in the mail, which will note if Part B coverage is included. However, since Medicare Part B is accompanied by a monthly premium, you do have the option to refuse coverage if you so choose.

How To Apply For Medicare Part B?

It is important for you to carefully consider whether you want to sign up for Part B or not. If you do not sign up for Part B coverage, and then decide to sign up later, your premiums might be increased. The government may increase your monthly premium by up to 10% for each 12-month period that you were eligible, but didn't sign up.

The exception to the aforementioned rule is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This applies to those who remain covered under their own group health plan or that of their spouse. The month after your group health plan coverage ends, you have 8 months to apply for Part B without having the aforementioned penalty levied.

When Is The General Enrollment Period?

If you don’t sign up for either Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, then you will still have the opportunity to sign up once a year during what is known as the General Enrollment Period. The Medicare General Enrollment Period takes place each year between January 1 and March 31, giving you a solid 3 months get covered.

When Will My Coverage Start?

The key age for Medicare coverage is 65 years old. The government wants you to be proactive, so it will allow you to enroll 3 months before you turn 65. You also have 3 months in which to enroll in Part A and/or Part B after your 65th birthday.

The start date for your Medicare coverage is based on your 65th birthday. If you sign up right on your birthday, then coverage will start a month later. If you sign up during the January 1 - March 31 General Enrollment Period, then your coverage starts on July 1st.

Where Do I Apply Online?

In order to apply online for Medicare Part B, you must be at least 64 years and 9 months old. For online Medicare sign up, visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. You can find the application form in the Benefits section.

The Social Security Administration encourages you to apply for your benefits online. It saves them to paper. The Social Security Office lists the following as benefits of applying for Medicare Part B online:

  • Save Time & Money
  • Convenience
  • Submit Now
  • Confirmation Number
  • Online Receipt

The good news is that online applications should only take about 15 minutes or so. Generally, there is no additional required documentation. The process has been made very easy, and you can start and stop at your convenience.

Click on the ‘Submit Now’ button when you are done. You will be given a confirmation number and receipt. Afterward, look for your Medicare card in the mailbox. After your initial Medicare sign up, you are not required to sign up each year. But, you do have the right to review your coverage and consider changing plans, if you want to.

Some must apply and others are automatically enrolled in Part B. Carefully, review your options to determine if Part B is right for you. You can wait, but your premiums will be higher if you add coverage later.

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