The first time you will be eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) is during your Initial Enrollment Period. This period includes the three months before and after you turn 65, plus your birth month.
Every enrollment situation is different and many factors make a difference in when you should enroll in Parts A and B. Learn more about the Initial Enrollment Period and when to enroll in Original Medicare.
Most people choose to enroll in Part A, even if they have other qualifying health coverage, if they are eligible for premium-free Part A coverage because it can help cover costs not covered by their existing health coverage. Note that enrolling in Part A will end the ability to contribute to a health savings account (HSA).
If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, and don’t have other qualifying health coverage, you should enroll when you’re first eligible in order to avoid a penalty. Contact Social Security to enroll yourself.
To apply for Original Medicare (Parts A and B)
- ONLINE — Visit Social Security online External Site and follow the instructions. The application takes less than 10 minutes. After you submit the application, you will get a receipt and an application number you can use to check the status of your application later. Once you are enrolled, Social Security will send you a "Welcome to Medicare" packet that includes your Medicare card.
- BY PHONE — Call the Social Security national customer hotline at 800-772-1213.
- IN PERSON — Visit your local Social Security office.
It depends. You may want to delay enrolling in Part B if you still have qualifying health coverage through an employer or a spouse's employer. If this is the case, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. What is a Special Enrollment Period for Part B?
If you don't enroll in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, and you are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you will be able to enroll again each year during the General Enrollment Period between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, but you may have to pay a penalty. If you enroll during this period, your coverage begins the following July 1.
You don’t have to enroll in Medicare Part B if you're still covered by qualifying health insurance through your employer or your spouse's employer. But, most people choose to enroll in Medicare Part A if they are eligible for premium-free Part A coverage.
Find an agent or talk to a Wellmark representative at 800-336-0505 to learn more.
There are many different paths when it comes to Medicare. Check out The Road to Medicare from BlueSM to help you find the path what works best for you.
You can apply for a Medicare supplement plan from Wellmark beginning the first day of the month your Part B coverage is effective, and you must have your Medicare card before you enroll. If you enroll during the first six months you’re covered by Part B, you won’t need to answer any health questions, during a period called guaranteed issue.